Saturday, March 12, 2011

Maybe this year......?

Let me begin by saying that I did not want to publish this. I read it awhile back and maybe you know what I mean when I say it was one of those things you read that makes you go, "ouch". So it's been sitting in my drafts folder waiting for a couple months. But then I thought, maybe I shouldn't just post things that are encouraging, but should sometimes share the harder things too..... I know it's hard to wait patiently, when you want something badly, to trust that what the Lord is doing is best, not to feel forgotten. Yet I know He is working all things for good. This post reminded me of something I read the other day in Matthew Henry on 1 Samuel 1.

"Our sorrow upon any account is sinful and inordinate when it diverts us from our duty to God and embitters our comfort in him, when it makes us unthankful for the mercies we enjoy and distrustful of the goodness of God to us in further mercies, when it casts a damp upon our joy in Christ, and hinders us from doing the duty and taking the comfort of our particular relations. We ought to take notice of our comforts, to keep us from grieving excessively for our crosses; for our crosses we deserve, but our comforts we have forfeited. If we would keep the balance even, we must look at that which is for us, as well as at that which is against us, else we are unjust to Providence and unkind to ourselves. God hath set the one over-against the other (Eccl. vii. 14) and so should we."

"I hardly know where to start," a letter begins. "My story is not one involving men. That's the problem. Male companionship seems not to be found.....The problem is I want a relationship. I have this overwhelming desire....."

Someone else said to me, "I fell deeply in love. He fell deeply in love too -- with someone else."

Another letter tells of the agonizing desire of one couple for a child. Since God had not removed the desire, they ask, may we not conclude that He wants us to use any viable means we can to have a child?

God's not having taken away a perfectly normal human desire does not by any means mean we are free to pursue its fulfillment in any way we choose. A woman who had, after years of struggles, quickly lost sixty pounds told me she had been expecting God to take away her appetite. When she realized He did not intend to (she had been asking for the removal of the God given protection from starvation!), she stopped gratifying that appetite in the wrong ways.

Will the young woman find a mate? Will the couple have a child? Maybe this year will be the year of the desire fulfilled. Perhaps, on the other hand, it will be the year of the desire being radically transformed, the year of finding, as we have not yet truly found, Christ to be the All-Sufficient One.

"Why won't God let someone into my life? I feel left out, abandoned. When will it be my turn?" The letter goes on. "I feel deprived. Will He deny me the one small desire of my heart? Is is too big a treasure to ask? I sit in torture and dismay."

Life is likely to hold many forms of torture and dismay for that unhappy person, and for all who refuse to receive with thanksgiving instead of complaint the life God has chosen for them. The torture is self inflicted, for God has not rejected their prayers. He knows better than any of us do what furthers our salvation. Our true happiness is to be realized precisely through His refusals, which are always mercies.

In Moses' review of God's leading the children of Israel he said,

"And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass." 
~ Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 5, 7-9

The cause of our discontent; we simply do not believe God. The wilderness experience leads to the Promised land. It is the path God chose for us. His word is established forever, and He tells us in a thousand ways that His will is our peace, His choices for us will lead to fulfillment and joy, the way of transgressors is hard. Do we suppose that we could find a better way than His? Instead of seeing His everlasting love, tenderly bending down to our humanness, we sometimes think of Him as indifferent, inaccessible, or just plain unfair.

The worst pains we experience are not those of the sufferings itself but of our stubborn resistance to it, our resolute insistence on our own independence. To be "crucified with Christ" means what Oswald Chambers called "breaking the husk" of that independence. "Has that break come?" he asks. "All the rest is pious fraud." And you and I know, in our heart of hearts, that that sword thrust is the straight truth.

Here is the opportunity offered. Be patient. Wait on the Lord for whatever He appoints, wait quietly, wait trustingly. He holds every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year in His hands. Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for he is already there. "The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot." (Psalm 16:5). Shall we not gladly say, "I'll take it, Lord. I'll trust you for everything."
~ Elisabeth Elliot, from Keep A Quiet Heart


  1. Stefanie,
    I wanted to leave you another note to say that I've read some more of your blog posts, and am loving it so far. I will be looking forward to keeping up with your blog now!

    Have a wonderful Sunday!
    ~ Tarissa



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Intense Debate Comments

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1