Gold by Moonlight was written to encourage fellow sufferers to persevere in the faith. The title is taken from a quote by Reverend Samuel Rutherford and means that with God's help gold can be found even in the dark. Carmichael shows how illness can bring a clearer understanding of God's love and mercy. She walks a very fine line between gentleness (allowing for the fact that pain often brings irrational thinking) and no-nonsense advice (discouraging all self-pity.)
At times the language in the book is difficult and the prose is dense. Sources (most unnamed) are as varied John Buchan novels, Pilgrim's Progress, Victorian poets, and missionary biographies of a hundred years ago. Because of the antiquated language this book needs to be read slowly. Because of it's unflinching call to Christian maturity, it also needs to be read prayerfully.
A major theme in the book is submission to God's will, but this is no wimpy resignation. God does not ask for the dull, weak, sleepy acquiescence of indolence. He asks for something vivid and strong. He asks us to cooperate with Him, actively willing what He wills, our only aim His glory. (p. 40)
I have many favorite quotes but I'll try to limit myself to just a few:
God forgive us for the strange coldness of so much of our love. The calculating love of Christians is the shame of the Church and the astonishment of angels. (p. 139)
Before the peace which passeth understanding can be ours, there must be a renunciation of faithless anxiety. (p. 81)
And my very favorite: We live a double life. Forces of distress may assail us (as they continually assailed our Lord), and we are called to labor from the rising of the morning till the stars appear, and yet all the time in the inner life of the spirit we are marvelously quickened, and raised up and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (p. 218)
A very worthwhile book for patient readers, especially those who are feeling side-lined by difficult circumstances.