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Struggling for the Highest

By Rev Dr Colin Peckham

As a young Agricultural student I had taken an uncompromising stand for Christ. I was seeking souls, memorising Scripture, preaching in the open air. Christ lived in me! I knew it! I thrilled to it!

Yet this rich experience was not an abiding one. There were periods of supreme joy in the Holy Ghost, but also times of defeat and frustration! In my most honest moments I wept over them, and could not understand myself. Gradually there was born with-in me a realisation that what I needed was a radical deliverance. How I sought God! Hours were spent alone on my knees with the Lord. Oh to be filled with the Holy Ghost! Oh to be more like Jesus!

At this critical stage Rev. Maynard James was sent across my pathway, and after a meeting one night, as a young student, I trusted God to deliver and to fill me.

As I walked back to the hostel, suddenly God came to His temple. I sank to my knees in the dust at the roadside. He gave me such an experience of Himself as I had not dreamed existed. how long I was there I know not, but one thing I know, that the mighty experience with God lifted me on to a new place altogether. The victory which I had sought I now experienced. God had taken possession. For three months I walked this heavenly highway, and then-catastrophe!

Satan tripped me up in the very thing which was my joy and delight-the Scriptures. I was studying with purpose and determination, and became entangled and confused in various doctrines. My joy evaporated. At one stage I imagined that I had committed the unpardonable sin and that God had forever forsaken me. If ever I plumbed the depths of misery and despair it was in the next two years. My heart was wrenched apart-yet mercifully during this desperate period, I maintained my Christian witness.

Slowly there began a long and painful search of God's gracious presence and fullness once again. Oh the longing! Oh the desire! Oh the prolonged times spent with God! I wonder on how many occasions I consecrated my all and 'took it by faith'-all to no avail; how many miles I travelled in search of help from Christian leaders; at how many meetings I responded to appeals?

I knew the victorious life to be a fact. I had lived it. I could not deny it! But how to get back was the problem which was breaking my heart.

One night when I could stand it no longer, sitting on the back seat of a car, I opened my Bible at 1 John 1:9, I placed my finger on the verse and said audibly, 'Lord thou hast forgiven my sins, I trust Thee tonight to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I do not know what this means, but please Lord, do it now!' On getting out of the car, I expected to have the same mighty experience with God that I had had on the dusty road-but there was no manifestation. A week passed, two weeks; I was not hanging firmly on the Word of Scripture which was being engraved on my soul. Some friends knew of my battle. They asked sympathetically of my welfare. All I could reply was that I was trusting God. Three whole weeks passed without a trace of emotion. I was standing on the naked Word of God.

One day something happened which would normally have upset me considerably, but which left me unmoved. On looking back I was amazed at my calm attitude. A little later a similar incident took place with a similar reaction.

It slowly began to dawn upon my wondering soul. Was I walking again in victory? No it could not be! Was God's Word really having effect? It must be! Yes, it must be! I began to walk as a little child walks, hopefully, unsteadily, falling and rising-but I was walking! The Lord had lifted me up! He had become my light and my salvation. He had come to my longing soul. The gate swung wide before me. Light began to steam on the pathway. The Lord was reigning-in my soul also!

A life of blessing and fullness stretched before me; a life to be maintained as a constant walk in the Spirit by the vital elements of faith and obedience.

He is the Victor! His the glory!