Simple and wise…
…But a true friend would also pray that, if it’s the best thing for you — if it makes you holier and brings God more glory in your life — may He also grant you waiting, and sorrow, and maybe a little pain, and some heartbreak. May you know mercy and grace to the fullest extent, if He sees fit, and may it bring you closer to Christ and make you more like Him.
From Job 23…
Do you have this confidence in the Lord these days?
“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”
…I love those verses! What confidence we have — we may not see Him or get what He’s doing, but we can be sure that He sees us, and will use this for our good.
And is your testimony like this, in your darkest moments?
“My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”
Earlier is this chapter, Job was imagining how it would be to go face-to-face with God and plead his case. Haven’t we all been there? But by the end of these verses, he is brought back to the reality of who God is and who Job is. Have you lost sight of your place and God’s place?
“But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.”
That’s a lot to think about, from just a handful of verses! I’ll leave you those to contemplate today. Please comment with any thoughts.
I’m not big on idolizing human beings (as none of us should be, I think we can all agree). Really, I probably overreact to my pre-Christ culture, which included the secular obsession with the rich and famous, as well as Catholic saints (for the record, I love Catholics and had a great experience growing up Catholic, but I reject the practice of idolizing saints). However, I have learned in recent years the balance of appreciating people who have spent their lives well for the Kingdom, leaving an eternal legacy that far outweighs any earthly one. I don’t want to teach my children someday that some people are super-saints who we hold up high and revere as near deity. We strive to be like Christ, and need no other example, of course. But in a world that truly does idolize people who, by my assessment, are really wasting their lives for no worthy cause, I see the value in encouraging future generations to look to people who spent their lives for the One Worthy Cause.
All that to say, I have said before that Jim and Elisabeth Elliot are two of my earthly heroes. By my estimate, they spent their lives for eternal causes and left an admirable legacy. In short, the Elliots, with several other similarly admirable people, put all their energy into taking the gospel to an unreached tribe in Ecuador. When the men reached the tribe, they were killed on the spot. Later, Elisabeth and the women took their children to live among the same tribe that killed their husbands. Their love and forgiveness were two major factors in slowly leading that tribe to Christ. Aside from that inspiring story, the Elliots are also very godly people in general who have a lot of biblical wisdom to offer (I recommend reading any of their books).
So I said all of that to point to two of Jim Elliot’s famous quotes that are special to my life. They’re not more important than scripture to me – not even close — but they echo ideas from scripture in a wise way, and I appreciate that.
Since we were first married, my husband and I have had this quote framed in our living room:
You may have heard it before. We cherished it as a bit of a family motto from the beginning, in seeking to go into the same line of work as the Elliots. It was a long process with a lot of waiting, and even after we got started we were instantly thrown off course and sent, at the last minute, to a different country than planned. We clung to this motto as we lived in a “stand-by” country for a couple years.
But I was clinging all the more to this motto in our years of infertility (see, there is a point to all this rambling!). I really do think that, in addition to, and perhaps more than, talking about where we geographically are in life, Jim Elliot was encouraging us to “be all there” in any situation in life. It was a great fear of mine that I would waste those barren years (which, at the time, I didn’t know weren’t endless) just waiting for them to be over with already. That’s a fear I have for you, too.
One reason I’m convinced he meant that is because of the second quote I want to share. Jim wrote it to Elisabeth before they were married, in a loooong time of debating/praying over whether it was best for the Kingdom that they should marry at all. I found it in my favorite Elliot book, Let me be a Woman, while I was in the midst of a loooong, long distance engagement with my now husband. He said:
How applicable to infertility! Let us hate the thought of spending months or years, lost so much in our longing that we forget to live! …and may we likewise hate the thought of living for anything but the Kingdom!
An extra thought: Could I encourage you to at least use some of this time as an opportunity from the Lord to pray about if you really are using your life to the fullest extent for the Kingdom? He may not ask you to move to another country or be killed by a tribe (but He really may!), but He may be asking more of you, and this is His time to get your attention. Don’t let it pass you by because your eyes are fixed on something else.
If you read my recent post about me being pregnant, you may be wondering about the future of this blog. I don’t have a definite plan yet, but I can tell you for sure it will not become a pregnancy or motherhood blog. For now I plan to keep posting (when my scheduled posts run out) as long as I have things to post about. I don’t think it’s realistic to imagine I’ll always have relevant material to post, but I’d like to offer encouragement as long as I have it to share! If this blog did “morph” into anything, it would probably be more of a blog for women about Christian growth in general, but I don’t have any set plans for that right now!
I just wanted to let you know, so you don’t have to fear upcoming posts featuring baby bumps or the like. For now, it’ll stay as it is!
If you don’t know about Secret Church, I recommend checking it out! It’s a long, intense time of Bible Study and prayer put on by the Church at Brook Hills in Alabama each year. It is held on Good Friday and, while this year may be my first participating, I’ve always heard rave reviews. You can participate by registering for access to the study guide and the video simulcast. The major purpose is to mimic the type of study and house church many believers around the world participate in instead of the more Western idea of church. You can read more about it on their website.
It would be perfect for your church, small group, or family. If you’ve participated in Secret Church, please comment and share about your experience!
Our small group is following this 2-year Bible reading plan, and yesterday the second reading of each day moved from the gospels to the Psalms (so, expect to see a lot from Psalms in the coming days!). I loved this simple verse from Psalm 3…
I just can’t get over David calling God “the lifter of my head;” what beautiful imagery! I picture this big, fatherly hand reaching down to lift David’s chin as his enemies surround him and he’s overwhelmed. And what truth there is in knowing that only He can really “lift your head” — there is nothing else that will do.
I think this would be a perfect memory verse for the week — something to hide in your heart to respond when worries and doubts overwhelm you. A truthful reminder that the Lord really is all you need — your protection, your greatest glory, and your true source of joy. You could probably memorize it on your way to work or while washing the dishes today!
I just stumbled upon this four-part sermon series by Pastor John Piper. I think I’m going to start working my way through it in the coming weeks, and I thought some of you may want to as well. If you listen, please come back and share any thoughts or words that were meaningful to you in the comments section!
For since the world began,
no ear has heard
and no eye has seen a God like you,
who works for those who wait for him! -Isaiah 64:4 [NLT]
I have been thinking of this verse a lot lately. There is so much depth to it, and so much joy, and so much hope! I can really relate to Isaiah marveling at this… I, too, live among people who worship another god (actually, most of you do, too, but your people don’t admit it). The god they worship is invented, dead, not real. But they still worship it, and it’s painful to watch. I am overwhelmed when I think of our God compared to this — Jehovah, the living, acting, real and true God of the universe. When they pray to their gods, the gods are still and nothing happens. But our God –the one, true God– has always stood in stark contrast to this. When we pray to Him, He acts. He is active. He is faithful when we wait for Him.
May you revel in this truth, and not grow weary in your waiting for Him!
This verse also brought to mind this song, which at first I couldn’t even remember how I knew it. I had to google the verses until it came up. But it’s perfectly taken from this verse and you’ll really appreciate it.