Growth is in the suffering, not the joy

“Jesus learned obedience from the things which He suffered, not by the things which he enjoyed.” [p.78]

I have been learning that our spiritual maturity is more likely to come from times of difficulty (momentary things like disagreements with coworkers, as well as big things like grieving a death) than times of ease. I’ve come to see there is a biblical truth to thinking that times of peace and “all is well” are more to be seen as the exception, and times of trial and suffering and needing to believe “all is well” are to be expected as the norm for the Christian life. I need a healthy mind and heart that is ready and expecting bumps in the road and not dreading and cursing them. They are welcomed catalysts for my growth. I need them. My faith is weak without them.

I’ve been sharing quotes from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Keep a Quiet Heart. Please share your thoughts! 

The God who is enough

Quoting Amy Carmichael (by the way, Elisabeth Elliot is my hero, Amy Carmichael was hers… reading her books makes me want to read more about Amy Carmichael!):

“Praise Him for the moonless seas—all the better the opportunity for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, ‘the God who is Enough.’” [page 57]

He goes with us

“He goes with us through the valley, the deep water, the furnace. He will never, absolutely never, leave us or forsake us.” [page 55]

Obviously, this isn’t her original thought. See:

Isaiah 43:2

 When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

And

Deuteronomy 36:1

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For theLord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Both verses are from the New Living Translation. The top quote is from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Keep a Quiet Heart.

Once surrendered

“If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine.” [page 53]

I’ve been sharing some meaningful quotes from Elisabeth Elliot’s wonderful book Keep a Quiet Heart. Let me know what you think! 

The worst pains

“The worst pains we experience are not those of the suffering itself but of our stubborn resistance to it, our resolute insistance on our independence.” [page 51]

This was me, you guys! As those months started adding up and it was becoming clear that we were in the midst of a trial of infertility, I remember crying in agony to my husband, “I don’t want this to be our story!” My heart just kept thinking, No no no no no — this cannot be happening! 

I was so resistant to accept what was happening, it took months to start really growing from it. Looking back, I wish I could appear to myself back then. I can clearly see those times of lying on my bed weeping for the grief and dread of what was going on: we were meeting barrenness. We were not going to be pregnant “on time” (according to our plans, that is). The Lord was going to do something different. I wish I could put my own hand on my shoulder and say, “This is a good story! God is doing good things! Don’t miss it because you’re stubborn about the story you think you want!”

The quote is from Elisabeth Elliot’s book Keep a Quiet Heart.

The most dreaded thing

“What we judge to be ‘tragic – the most dreaded thing that could happen,’ I expect we’ll one day see as the awesome reason for the beauty and uniqueness of our life as a family.” [page 30]

I appreciate this thought so much. It was written to Elisabeth Elliot from a woman who was born disabled. She was offering some wisdom to a third woman who had a disabled baby. I have found we need to understand this wisdom before “the most dreaded thing” happens. When those thoughts of “What if…” and “I couldn’t handle it if that happened to me” pop up, as they are bound to do, we need to remind ourselves of the truth: If it happens, God would use it. If it happens, God will have ordained it. What great quietness of heart there is in that truth, if only we believed it fully!

This quote is from the book Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot.

Keep A Quiet Heart – Elisabeth Elliot’s Blog

In the midst of some big changes and a season of many questions about many things, my husband and I decided to set aside a week of concentrated prayer and fasting a few weeks ago. Instead of fasting from food, we opted to fast from the internet. Being the 21st century drone that I can be, I realized pretty early into the first day that this left a regular little void – there were many small moments of the day that I casually filled with “phone checks.” Checking Facebook, checking the news, checking whatever. I decided to pull a new book off my shelf to at least fill these small pockets of 2 or 5 or 15 minutes (food is cooking, baby is nursing, whatever) with something more godward.

coverWell, it turns out I chose the perfect book for the task, and I am totally entranced! Elisabeth Elliot’s somehow overlooked (at least by me) masterpiece titled Keep a Quiet Heart reads like the blog she would’ve written if such a thing existed in her prime. It’s actually a large collection of brief (1-4 pages) essays and articles she composed for a regular newsletter she sent out over the course of years in her life. She writes on what God is teaching her through events, readings, her time in the word, and many other sources. The wisdom contained in these writings is priceless!

At first I planned to merely share a review, as the whole book seemed to focus on dealing with trials, life’s seasons of disquiet, and the like. However, tonight I realized that I had overlooked the divisions of sections on various subjects. As it turns out, that trove of rich reflections was just a drop in the bucket of this book!

Since I couldn’t keep myself from highlighting line after line of insight I didn’t want to forget on the subject of “keeping a quiet heart” as God directs your life, I’ve decided to dedicate the next several posts to some of the best quotes from the first section, titled Faith for the Unexplained. I hope the Lord uses Mrs. Elliot’s words to bless and encourage you in your season!

Here’s the first…

“Our enemy delights in disquieting us. Our Savior and Helper delights in quieting us. ‘As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you’ is His promise [Is. 66:13]. The choice is ours. It depends on our willingness to see everything in God, receive all from His hand, accept with gratitude just the portion and the cup He offers. Shall I charge Him with a mistake in His measurements or with misjudging the sphere in which I can best learn to trust Him? Has He misplaced me? Is He ignorant of things or people which, in my view, hinder my doing His will? […] The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” [page 20]

Morning Mercies

A friend recently posted about this book on facebook. I know she’s struggled with fertility-related issues in the past, and I think she referenced them in her post. Regardless, even though I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I’ll pass her recommendation on to you! She said she’s been reading this devotional each morning for about a year now, and recommends it,

For anyone who has experienced hardship and wants a devotional that isn’t full of sappy Christianese… This book is a great option. Tripp’s ability to point us to Gospel truth in light of living in a broken world is phenomenal.

New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

nmm

 

The Ground of my life, the Spring of my hope

I read this truly beautiful masterpiece of a prayer from The Valley of Vision during my devotional time this morning. I just had to share — its many truths really pierced my heart. I bolded some of my favorite lines, but truly I love all of it!

Which lines stand out to you the most?

“Glorious Jehovah, my Covenant God,

All Thy promises in Christ Jesus are yea and amen,
and all shall be fulfilled.
Thou hast spoken them, and they shall be done,
commanded, and they shall come to pass.

Yet I have often doubted Thee,
have lived at times as if there were no God.
Lord, forgive me that death in life,
when I have found something apart from Thee,
when I have been content with ephemeral things.

But through Thy grace I have repented;
Thou hast given me to read my pardon in the wounds of Jesus,
and my soul doth trust in Him, my God incarnate,
the ground of my life,
the spring of my hope.

Teach me to be resigned to Thy will,
to delight in Thy law,
to have no will but Thine,
to believe that everything Thou doest is for my good.

Help me to leave my concerns in Thy hands,
for Thou hast power over evil,
and bringest from it an infinite progression of good,
until Thy purposes are fulfilled.

Bless me with Abraham’s faith
that staggers not at promises through unbelief.
May I not instruct Thee in my troubles,
but glorify Thee in my trials.

Grant me a distinct advance in the divine life;
May I reach a higher platform,
leave the mists of doubt and fear in the valley,
and climb to hill-tops of eternal security in Christ
by simply believing He cannot lie,
or turn from His purpose.

Give me the confidence I ought to have in Him
who is worthy to be praised,
and who is blessed forevermore.”

P.S. If you previously enjoyed this book or have been liking my posts from it, it may be of interest to you that you can buy the audio book on CD! So you can listen and meditate in your car, while working at home, or anywhere you want!