|Yesterday's Elisabeth Elliot devotion really "got" me: |
There Is No Other Way
In order to get to a place called Laity Lodge in Texas you have to drive into a riverbed. The road takes you down a steep, rocky hill into a canyon and straight into the water. There is a sign at the water's edge which says,
"Yes. You drive in the river."
One who has made up his mind to go to the uttermost with God will come to a place as unexpected and perhaps looking as impossible to travel as that riverbed looks. He may glance around for an alternative route, but if he wants what God promises His faithful ones, he must go straight into the danger. There is no other way. The written word is our direction. Trust it. Obey it. Drive in the river and get to Laity Lodge.
Moses said to Israel, "I offer you the choice of life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life and then you and your descendants will live; love the Lord your God, obey him, and hold fast to him: that is life for you." When you take the risk of obedience, you find solid rock beneath you--and markers, evidence that someone has traveled this route before. "The Lord your God will cross over at your head... he will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not be discouraged or afraid" (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20; 31:3, 8, NEB).
It's what the old gospel song puts so simply: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. --John H. Sammis
"There is no other way...When you take the risk of obedience, you find solid rock beneath you--and markers, evidence that someone has traveled this route before. "
Friday evening, I had a nice conversation with my covenant group leader. During the course of this conversation, I shared with him some of the difficulties and joys of walking where I am right now. Sunday evening - Thursday evening I am living and working in Baton Rouge. Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon, I am a 12hr a day babysitter for my nephew and 2 nieces.
Literally, I do not have one moment alone the entire time. I even share my bed with at least 2 of them a night. I do not say that as a complaint...merely a statement of fact. In fact, there are many praises and wonderful things about this time. Though I only get a portion (a small portion) of my bed to sleep in - I get to sleep in my own bed. AND, I get to wake up to smiling faces and snuggles and go to sleep much the same way. There truly is nothing like waking up to a tiny face that just wants you to hold them tight-tight for a while. I love seeing all the little things that make each child unique...my nephew's inability to be still or stop talking (though frustrating at times) is often hilarious, my oldest niece, Kira has taken to saying "that's wonderful" for the simplest things and the baby, Timia, is growing so fast. She has started saying "DaDa" and when I try to "correct" her by saying "TiTi", she just laughs. She also scrunches up her nose to give me a cheesy grin...much like my own.
The hardest part of all of this, even harder than my nephew's behavior and (at times) willful disobedience is leaving them. I haven't made it through a Sunday yet without major tears. I cried the whole way to Baton Rouge yesterday and got choked up as I downloaded the most recent pictures from my camera.
I shared a bit of this with my covenant group leader and told him that what has helped get me through is that I can see preparation in all of this...that is, preparation for my own family. After I hung up with him, I was instantly convicted of just how selfish that viewpoint was. It was saying that this time is only good if the end result is I am in a better place to care for a family of my own...that is, if it gets me one step closer to it.
The truth is, the Lord may be using this to refine me for motherhood...or my desire and affinity for motherhood may have been implanted for such a time as this and nothing more.
The bigger truth is, this isn't about me and getting what I want...it is about serving the Lord. Serving my family in this way at this time could be the way the Lord choses to do a work in me and in them He could have done no other way. But at this time, it isn't about where I may or may not be headed, it is about where I am. To think on what might be coming or this might be the proving ground for is to focus my heart and mind on what I want rather than what the Lord wants and to risk missing His purposes right now. It is to risk doing what Jim Elliot encouraged Elisabeth NOT to do during their long courtship and that is to let my longing slay my appetite for living.
Certainly Katrina is the way the Lord has chosen to get many of us where we need to be...in fact, Katrina will prove to be the only way we could have gotten where we are going. But if I start putting parameters and expectations to where it is the Lord is bringing me and what it needs to look like, I will miss out on all there is to be seen and learned and done and gained now and no doubt set myself up for sinful responses as well.
I have already begun to see things in my heart, in my walk, in my family the Lord could have revealed and dealt with in no other way than through the massive event named Hurricane Katrina. My tendency, however, is to live 12 steps ahead and try to divine the ultimate outcome from where I am now. That is not the way of the Lord...that is not the walk of obedience and faith. It is step by step into the unknown, for His glory and honor alone. He doesn't promise we will get where we want to be or that we will know even a step or two ahead of time where we are going, but He does promise that He will be with us each step of the way and that we can trust Him implicitly.
He also says that there is no other way to please Him than to walk and live and think and hope and pray and respond ...and so many other verbs...in faith.
Though my flesh rises up against the thought, it is still somehow comforting to me to know that there is no other way. With God there is no skirting the issue or fudging or sorta-kinda...there is one way, there is always a "right" decision, and He is sovereign over all, assuring that we get from point A to point B (stumbles and all) both temporally and eternally!
Lord, forgive my selfishness. Help me to see you and be thankful for the now and trust that what is to come is safe in your care. You have gone before and prepared the way. Help me to rest in that and to not always be so concerned with discerning what lies ahead and see your purposes and goodness in what is.