“If the life of a man or woman on earth is to bear the fragrance of heaven, the winds of God must blow on that life, winds not always balmy from the South, but fierce winds from the north that chill the very marrow.” Elisabeth Elliot (in A Chance to Die)
I read this as I waited for my friends to meet me for dinner and it came back to me a few times as we talked. As each of us shared things from our lives…hardships, current tests, past joys…it was almost as if I could feel the breeze blowing and smell the fragrance of God on their lives. None of us always do things right…and each of us have regrets over choices (past and present) and wish we had considered the Lord more than we considered ourselves at times. But as we spoke, we were also reminded of God’s sovereignty and purpose, how He pulls the tiniest, seemingly insignificant details together to direct the course of our lives…how if just one of them were left out we wouldn’t be where we are…we might not even know Him. We were also reminded of how grateful we are for where we are and what we have been spared from…and I am sure we are each grateful that we have walked through so much of that knowing that our Savior was very near, a very present help, and ever lives to intercede for us.
As I drove home, I thought about my own life…all I’ve been given, all He has accomplished and all He has withheld. For my good and His glory. I thought about how many things I would prefer to be different…and also how the Lord has met me right there and showed me the kindness of each denial and how much doing without has taught me about the Lord and my own heart…how much of my sanctification has come through denial. It reminded me of something else from A Chance to Die…
And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my FatherUntil it be according unto mine?
Ah! No, Lord, No, that never shall be! RatherI pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.
I pray Thee hush the hurried, eager longings;I pray Thee sooth the pangs of keen desire.
See, in my quiet places, wishes thronging, Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.
And work in me to will, and do Thy pleasure'Til all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry content, my Well-Beloved's leisure;At last, at last, even as a weaned child.
Amy faced many denials…many trials…many losses and much suffering. I am certain at times she was shaken and could see no way for things to work out. But she didn’t have to SEE…she KNEW. She knew the Lord was and would always be faithful and that His promise was that ALL things would work together for the good. She also “knew where to turn to regain her footing, first to her God and then to thoughts of others.”
It is amazing the effect taking one’s eyes off “self” has. Surely, as Jesus bore our sin, He wasn’t thinking of the lashes on His back or the weight of the cross or the nails that were waiting to be pounded into His perfect flesh. He was thinking of us…of the “joy set before Him”…the salvation of our souls.
Lord teach me this lesson…to go to you and think of others when I am tempted to think only of myself. Teach me to seek and see evidences of your wind on my life…whether it is a comforting breeze or a chilling wind…and be thankful for the fragrance you leave in your wake.