Saturday, January 26, 2008

Strange ashes

Again, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and what is comforting me these days. If I were a writer, I’d write something like this:
Sometimes I am asked to speak to young people who are toying with the idea of being missionaries. They want to know how I discovered the will of God. The first thing was to settle once and for all the supremacy of Christ in my life, I tell them. I put myself utterly and forever at His disposal, which means turning over. . . my notions of how I am to serve my Master. Oswald Chambers calls it “breaking the husk of my individual independence of God.” Until that break comes, all the rest is “pious fraud.” I tell these earnest kids that the will of God is always different from what they expect, always bigger, and, ultimately, infinitely more glorious than their wildest imaginings.

But there will be deaths to die. Paul found that out--daily, he said. That is the price of following the way of the cross--of course. . . .

This scares people. Yet what is there to fear when Christ holds first place in our lives? Where, other than in the will of the Father, shall we expect to find significance, security, and serenity?

God’s guidance for me has been so different from my early notions--I was to be a jungle missionary for life! [And, of course, we were to be in Russia for life!] The complete futility, humanly speaking, of all the language work I did (Colorado, Quichua, and Auca for various reasons, all came to nothing) was a deep lesson in the supremacy of Christ. Whom had I set out to serve? May He not do as He wills, then, with His servant’s work? Is anything offered to Christ ever wasted? I thought about the sacrifices of Old Testament times. When a man brought a lamb, the priest laid it on the altar, slit its throat, and burned it. The offering, then. was accepted. But what was left of it? Amy Carmichael taught me the implications of a living sacrifice. She wrote:
‘But these strange ashes, Lord, this nothingness,
This baffling sense of loss?’
Son, was the anguish of My stripping less
Upon the torturing cross?
Was I not brought into the dust of death,
A worm, and no man, I;
Yea, turned to ashes by the vehement breath
Of fire, on Calvary?
O son beloved, this is thy heart’s desire:
This, and no other thing
Follows the fall of the Consuming Fire
On the burnt offering.
Go on and taste the joy set high, afar,--
No joy like that to thee;
See how it lights the way like some great star.
Come now, and follow Me.

From Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter March/April ‘93

(Нет, я не пишу стихи. Эти слова просто были большое утешение для меня. Они не мои. We have friends who read our blog through an electric translator, which is hard to understand, at best. Last time I quoted a poem, it told them that I had written it. No, I am most definitely not a poet!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Phyllis, again for the challenge for all of us to a life completely surrendered to Him. You are a great example of that and we continue to pray and love you very much for how you love Him. Julie