Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paradoxy

Sometimes God doesn't make sense. Sometimes He is working on your heart one way, and then a moment later He turns your attention to something else entirely.

When I wrote about complacency, it wasn't because I was necessarily struggling with it, but because it had caught my attention while reading Proverbs. I thought perhaps there was a good lesson in there, and I did try to think about where I had become too satisfied and needed to seek God more.

But as I was going about my day, I heard a voice say, "I have you where I want you." It was strange because in my post I had talked about the danger of becoming too content in your relationship with God. Yet I felt that He wasn't telling me not to keep striving to grow; He was simply speaking to me about my circumstances. It was as though I had been punching endlessly at the air, and He told me, "stop."

Today I picked up a little volume by Elisabeth Elliot called "Be still, my soul" to read in the metro. I had already read it, so it qualified for the kind of "easy reading" that is good for traveling. But the book is not short on substance.

Elisabeth Elliot touches on some of the major issues that touch the human heart. I like what she says about surrendering.

"The One who has the keys is the One who is in charge. And if we have given our lives to Him, we are able to accept everything that happens to us as from his hands." (p.33; see also Rev.1:12-18, about keys)

It's as simple as that. She then goes on to talk about the difficulties of waiting, relating a story about Amy Carmichael.
"She and a missionary couple were delayed on a journey because of a boat that did not arrive. Not just hours but days went by, and the young missionary began to fret because of the time lost and the consequences to others who counted on them. The older missionary said calmly, 'God knows all about the boats.'" (pp.33, 34)
I was struck by this concept that "God knows." It isn't that He has overlooked the fact that other people are counting on you to be on time, or that if you are sick on Sunday you will have to miss church, or that if the printer doesn't work it's going to be an interesting English lesson. It's just that He has a different plan.

And so, while I was thinking yesterday about the dangers of complacency, the theme for today is acceptance.

Elisabeth Elliot mentioned a poem on this theme which I was able to locate on the Internet.

"In Acceptance Lieth Peace," by Amy Carmichael

He said, "I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places—
They shall be filled again;
O voices mourning deep within me, cease."
Vain, vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, "I will crowd action upon action,
The strife of faction
Shall stir my spirit to flame;
O tears that drown the fire of manhood, cease."
Vain, vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in endeavour lieth peace.

He said, "I will withdraw me and be quiet,
Why meddle in life's riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou dost befool me, thou shalt cease."
Vain, vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, "I will submit; I am defeated;
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
O futile murmurings; why will ye not cease?"
Vain, vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, "I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God to-morrow
Will to His son explain."
Then did the turmoil deep within him cease.
Not vain the word, not vain;
For in acceptance lieth peace.

2 comments:

  1. Elizabeth,
    I have really enjoyed this post and the only after it...thanks for sharing(especially this one)...does Mir have a copy of the Elliot book? I would love to read it!! I am reading about Amy C. right now with the kids.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! I don't think it is in the MIR library, but you can borrow mine. Maybe I could bring it to the prayer meeting? (if you remind me)

    I also read the biography of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot. I think Mike owns it.

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