Does God Want Everything? (from Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot)
God sifted men’s hearts in OT times.
“The time came when God put Abraham to the test…”
God was still sifting hearts in NT times:
“…A man came up and asked him, “Master, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”…
“No man is worthy of me who cares more for father or mother than me;…”
“I count everything sheer loss, because all is far outweighed by the gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
Great spiritual principles. Unarguable. To all of them, my intellect gave full consent. A giant of the faith like Abraham or Paul the apostle – of course THEY had to be tested with great tests. I was only a college girl, trying to do well in my studies, praying for direction for my life, attracted to a very appealing man whose primary interest was the Kingdom of God. Anything wrong with that?
“If you wish to go the whole way…” It was not to the intellect alone that the question came. My heart and my feelings were involved now, and I must give an answer. God was sifting ME this time. Did I want to go the “whole way”? Yes, Lord.
“Do you want to be worthy of Me?” Yes, Lord.
“Do you want to know Christ Jesus as Lord?” Certainly, Lord.
A friend of mine wrote me recently, responding to an e-mail I sent her about what has been my on-going battle for the past month or so. That battle is the submission of my hopes and thoughts regarding marriage. I believe the Lord had done a major work in destroying the idol I’d made of marriage a couple of years ago, but lately I feel I am being tested and tempted to begin rebuilding that altar…and so it has been a battle. Daily I am presented with the supplies, daily my hands reach out for them, sometimes I even hold them and begin to plan…and daily I am led to put them down and turn to the Lord…to His plan which I cannot see but I know is unfolding just the same.
“God will use your testimony for many in the future...and NOW!” She wrote. I couldn’t think of that as a possibility. Not then. Not for many hours after. “Every step has been significant and a very big deal to me, but it certainly isn’t to anyone else,” I thought. Then, the Lord (I believe) brought to mind the passage I quoted above from Passion & Purity.
I was only a college girl, trying to do well in my studies, praying for direction for my life, attracted to a very appealing man whose primary interest was the Kingdom of God.
I am certain that college girl could not…would not think for a second that the Lord could use her “silly” battle for purity in thought, deed and devotion to Him as it regarded her “love life” as a testimony to anyone else. I am sure she could see only one of two things happening…the Lord would either allow her and Jim to marry and live happily ever after in a jungle hut somewhere or He would not allow them to be together, and thought she would initially be crushed (and I am sure the very thought made the breath catch in her throat), He would then bring her into what was actually the best for her.
I am sure she could not see that they would marry and live in a jungle hut for less than 2 years. She could not see that he would be taken from her when their first child, a daughter, was less than a year old. She could not see long years of single-parenthood in that same jungle leading the man who killed her beloved to the Lord. She could also not see, I am sure, marrying and becoming a widow for the second time or then marrying for the third time to a man who was a boarder in her home…and younger than she. Finally, I know she could not see the Lord taking this life he carved out for her…a life that has known more than its share of sorrow and joy…and use it to speak to countless men and women and begin to turn a generation towards the long lost notions of honor and purity.
No doubt, she also could not see that her experience and her words could be used by the Lord to lead a single, 34 year old woman who has been kept pure despite a lifetime of pursuing every avenue to impurity, along the straight – though rough – way, leading up to the hilltops of her life.
I can’t see any of that coming from my “story” either…which isn’t much of a story at this point, truth be told. But God…BUT GOD ( I love saying that! ) “moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm. Deep in His dark and hidden mind, with never failing skill. He fashions all His bright designs and works His Sovereign will.”
I don’t yet know what that sovereign will is for me, but I do know that I can trust Him. I can trust no other…especially myself. That trust does not need to be proven, for His name is “faithful God” but He proves it just the same; not by giving me a peek at tomorrow or even the next hour, but by meeting me where I am and always satisfying me with good things.
Lord help me to rest in the knowledge that you are working your sovereign will and that you are good and kind and your ways are perfect!
Thou sweet beloved will of God,
My anchor ground, my fortress hill -
My spirit's silent, fair abode -
In thee I hide me, and am still.
O Will, that willest good alone
Lead Thou the way, thou guidest best
A little child I follow on
And trusting, lean upon Thy breast.