Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Passion and Purity

One of my most favourite books of all time has to be Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity.
Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren has to be one of the most inspirational and amazing women out - especially in the guidance area of relationships. The story of her husband, Jim Elliot, is legendary. However, less well known is the love story of Jim and Elisabeth.
Embodied in the book Passion and Purity, it contains pain, hope, peace, struggles, tears, timeless God-given love and prayer. It talks about the concepts of releasing back to God, waiting on God, emotional battleground - in fact, pretty much every area that one could struggle with in relationships.

This blog post is for Calleigh, Kiehl, Carissa, Rebekah, Anjelica, Kay and Holly, and Miguel, Nick, Matt, Jay and Miles from Passion and Purity.
I’m including some of you not because you necessarily have relationship problems, but because you may find some of it a blessing in your own personal lives right now.

Chapter 12: Holding Pattern.

"I began to learn to wait. Patient waiting does not come naturally to most of us, but a great deal is said about it in the Bible. It is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust.

June 9, 1948 - 'Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.' Psalm 25:5

To wait on the Lord is to stand perfectly still....Can we two trust His words, 'Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath He not given you rest on every side?....' 1 Chronicles 22:18

Last night I read chapter 43 in WINDOWS by Amy Carmichael: 'Bare heights of loneliness...a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to Him? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.'

It was on the evening of the same day, June 9, that Jim and I walked out to a cemetery and sat down on a stone slab. I told him I did not think it would help us much in discerning God's direction if we started right in on a heavy correspondence. Wouldn't it make more sense to 'cool it'? Not that we used that expression in those days, but it says what I meant. To allow for the perspective that both distance and silence could give might help us to see the whole thing with cool reason.
Jim thought that over for a few minutes. Then he spoke of the story he had read in his Bible study that morning - the study of Abraham's offering up of the most precious thing in his life: his son Isaac. 'So I put you on the altar,' he said.
Slowly we became aware that the moon, which had risen behind us, was casting the shadow of a stone cross on the slab between us.
We were silent for a very long time, pondering this undeniable sign. What Abraham did was the ancient prelude to the full revelation of the love of God. The readiness to give up his son and the rewards promised because of it - again, the central truth of the Cross was brought to us in a strange and mysterious manner. When the silence became heavy, Jim said, 'And what is to be done with the ashes?' Time would show.

A girl wrote to me recently, 'It seems that time and patience are such key elements to following the way we were intended to go. I think with a good deal of awe upon the fact that you and your first husband waited so long in such careful seeking of obedience, and I wonder, with a lack of knowing inside, whether that is what is required.'
I could not tell her that the same duration of waiting was required of her. She will have to take Christ's yoke upon her and learn of Him. I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts. It is easy to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence - easier sometimes than to wait patiently.

Truly my heart waits silently for God;
my deliverance comes from Him.
In truth He is my rock of deliverance,
my tower of strength, so that I stand unshaken...
Trust always in God, my people,
pour out your hearts before Him;
God is our shelter.

A roof over our heads. A hedge. A windbreak. A warm coat. Shelter from the fear of loss of this precious thing called love, from the fear of a life of loneliness without the one person I believed I could ever love. Shelter from attack - from onslaughts of doubt that God would take care of everything if I would simply trust Him - what if He didn't?
Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all. I was dying to talk to Jim and about Jim. But the things that we feel most deeply we ought to learn to be silent about, at least until we have talked them over thoroughly with God.
In Idylls of the King, when King Athur asked Sir Bors if he had seen the Holy Grail, Bors said, "'Ask me not, for I may not speak of it; I saw it,' and the tears were in his eyes."
Luke tells us in his Gospel that, when Jesus was teaching every day in the temple, He went off to spend every night on the Mount of Olives. The words He had for the people came out of prolonged silence on that quiet hillside, away from the city, under the silent stars.
Three days before my graduation, Jim and I spent the afternoon in a little park in Glen Oak, Illinois. We talked very little, enjoyed the sun, flowers, lake, birds and insects. I am sure my heart was full to bursting with things I wanted to say (things like, "I love you, I can't live without you. How can you do this? I can't bear it," and all the rest of the desperate phrases women always want to say). I refrained, but it was all I could do. I am sure it was good for me to refrain. "Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut" is a good rule that harmonises with Scripture, "...Keep your mouth shut and show your good sense." "...The man who talks too much meets his deserts." and "When men talk too much, sin is never far away; common sense holds its tongue." Finding a mutual appreciation of sun, lake and birds was a safe kind of communication for us that afternoon. God's time for further revelations of the heart might come later. Tomorrow was not our business; it was His. Letting it rest with Him was the discipline for the day, and it was enough.
"Do you think God will let me know once and for all whether He is going to give me a husband? I'm in a holding pattern, it seems, and I'd like to know how long it's to go on." That is from a letter I received in 1982, but it could've been written by me in 1948. It's exactly how I felt. "If only God would let me know." But then, of course, there was the possibility that He was not going to give me a husband. Did I want to know that? Was I ready for it? Perhaps it was better to hope than to know. The "holding pattern" seems to describe a very important aspect of waiting on God. Most of us who travel by air have experienced this. The flight is nearly over, the plane has begun its descent toward the city of destination when you feel it pull up again, bank, and begin to circle. An announcement comes over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Due to heavy incoming traffic, the tower has assigned us a holding pattern." People groan. Babies cry. You look out and see the same scenery you saw fifteen minute earlier. You think of the person waiting at the airport for you. You look at your watch and try to figure what will happen if you don't make your connection or appointment. You hope the captain will tell you exactly how long it will be before landing. How long is this circling going togo on?
S.D. Gordon, in his Quiet Talks on Prayer, describes waiting. It means:

Steadfastness, that is holding on;
patience, that is holding back;
expectancy, that is holding the face up;
obedience, that is holding one's self in readiness to go or do;
listening, that is holding quiet and still so as to hear.

How long, Lord, must I wait?
Never mind, child.
Trust Me.

From Material for Sacrifice:

God gives us material for sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice makes little sense to others, but when offered to Him is always accepted. What was the "point" in God's asking Abraham for the sacrifice of his beloved son, Isaac? The story has often been attacked as "pagan" and has been grossly misunderstood. Our offerings to Him may very likely be seen as senseless or even fanatical, but He receives them. Jesus received the precious ointment from the worshipping woman, although those present thought it a foolish waste. It is a lesson I understood very dimly in 1948, but it has become clearer and clearer the further I go with God. I have tried to explain it sometimes to people who are lonely and longing for love. "Give it to Jesus," I say. The loneliness itself is material for sacrifice. The very longings themselves can be offered to Him who understands perfectly. The transformation into something He can use for the good of others takes place only the the offering is put into His hands.
What will He do with these offerings? Never mind. He knows what to do.

From What to Do With Loneliness:

"Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that sems to be laying waste your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge.
Remember that you are not alone. 'The Lord, He it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee neither forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage.' (Deut. 31:8) Jesus promised His disciples, 'Lo, I am with you always.' (Matt. 28:20) Never mind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for one moment forgetting you.
Give thanks. In times of my greatest loneliness I have been lifted up by the promise of II Corinthians 4:17,18, 'For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.' This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which seems a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.
Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.
Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last.
Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others.
Do something for somebody else. NO matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you. Pray that you may be an instrument of God's peace, that where there is loneliness you may bring joy."

The important thing is to receive this moment's experience with both hands. Don't waste it. "Wherever you are, be all there," Jim once wrote. "Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."

...Something I wrote to Jim once must have revealed my resentment, for he wrote, "Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living." That was exactly what I had let it do.

...The painful thing was that other folks had not only heaven to look forward to, but they had "all this and heaven, too," "this" being engagement or marriage. I was covetous. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about the happy certainty of heaven, he went on to say, "This doesn't mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys - we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles." Even when I'm feeling most alone - on that moonlit night, in the middle of the candlelit supper, when the phone call and the letter don't come - can I be "full of joy, here and now"? Yes. That is what the Bible says. That means it must be not only true, but possible, and possible for me.
"Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us."
Taken in the right spirit. These are the operative words. ...The effect of my troubles depends not on the nature of the troubles themselves but on how I receive them. I can receive them with both hands in faith and acceptance, or I can rebel and reject. What they produce if I rebel and reject will be something very different from a mature character, something nobody is going to like.
Look at the choices:

Rebellion - if this is the will of God for me now, He doesn't love me.
Rejection - If this is what God is giving me, I won't have any part of it.
Faith - God knows exactly what He's doing.
Acceptance - He loves me; He plans good things for me; I'll take it.

The words "full of joy here and now" depend on the words "taken in the right spirit." You can't have one without the other. Taken in a spirit of trust, even loneliness contributes to the maturing of character, even the endurance of separation and silence and that hardest thing of all, uncertainty, can build in us a steady hope.

May you be blessed, open to and fulfilled by Him.
~Jane Johnson