Converts Guide – By John Hames

Chapter 23

The Change from Joy to Soul-Burden

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Cor. 12:7).

There will hardly be an experience more perplexing and confusing to the newly converted than the sudden change through which he passes from joy and ecstasy to the heavy pressure of soul-burden. The joy dies so suddenly and the burden bursts in so vehemently that it frequently confuses the convert and causes him to think for a moment that he has lost his religion or in some way deeply grieved the Holy Spirit He cannot understand why his sun of joy disappeared so suddenly and the landslide of depression settled upon him so heavily.

It is only a short time, however, before the blessed Comforter, like a loving mother, will whisper cheering words to his heart and also in some way let him know that his heaviness is not from disobedience, condemnation or guilt, but is soul-burden. What is meant by soul-burden is when the blessed Holy Spirit makes your heart heavy and sorrowful for the unsaved. The burden may sometimes rest upon your heart so heavily that you may fall prostrate upon the floor and besides not able to utter a single word but groan within. This is what the apostle meant in Romans 8:26, when he made the following remarks:

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

This is what it means for Zion to travail. Sometimes this burden and inward groaning will come upon us in the early part of the day for sinners who will be at the altar that night. Of course, we may not know they are to be there, neither will we always know what we are burdened for, but the blessed Holy Ghost who dwells within knows, hence, it is He that prays and makes intercessions through us. Those who have been recently saved or sanctified are quite often confused during revival meetings. They cannot understand why they do not have the same degree of joy and blessing that they had before the meeting began. They, of course, are beginners and have not awakened to the fact that when soul-burden, soul-concern and the spirit of intercession prevail in a meeting, the flow of joy for the present is stayed. This explains also why the saints are not so jubilant and joyful during revival times as they usually are before and after.

This difference is also noticeable in prayer and praise meetings. We rarely ever see the Christians as happy and joyful in a prayer-meeting as they are in a praise and testimony meeting. The difference is this, in the prayer-meeting the spirit of intercession and soul-travail prevails, while in the praise and testimony meeting the spirit of encouragement and holy merriment prevails.

Another fact worthy of the convert’s notice is this, a prayer-meeting is more rudely opposed and withstood by the powers of darkness than a praise or testimony meeting. You will find it much easier to go to sleep in a prayer-meeting than in a business meeting. You will also find it much easier to remain awake while reading the evening paper than while reading the Bible.