It is so easy to grumble, isn’t it? Here’s a little encouragement from Amy Carmichael to choose another way of looking at your life:
Num 11.5: We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.
Ps 40.10 (BCP): I should fulfill Thy will, O my God: I am content to do it.
To think of nice things one can’t have is to become discontented and grumpy. Is there something you want and can’t have today? Are you tempted to grouse about it? repeat that little string of six words to yourself quite slowly and solemnly: “Fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, garlic.” If you haven’t time for all six just say, “Cucumbers,” and see what will happen. First you will laugh. Then in a flash you will remember those foolish and ungrateful people whose story you know so well. You will remember, too, how patiently God bore with them; and you will be ashamed that even for one moment you joined forces with them.
We are all sure to be tempted by thoughts of fish, cucumbers, melons, onions, leeks, and garlic–things we would like but cannot have at present. But there is another set of six words which is as happy as the first set of six is unhappy. They were spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ about His Father’s will: I am content to do it.
Which set of six will you take for your own? You can’t have both; they won’t mix. So choose.
I’m on an Amy Carmichael role, can you tell?
1 Thess 3.3. (Weymouth): That none of you might be unnerved by your present trials: for you yourselves know that they are our appointed lot.
Have you difficulties? They are our appointed lot. Have you trials? They are our appointed lot.
Those five words were written to people who might any day find themselves in prison, tortured, lonely, oppressed. Her if we have to have a tooth out, we have an injection. There was no injection for the Christians of Thessalonica. Let us not forget that when we are tempted to fuss over trifles, and call things trials which are mere nothings.
Still, there are trials sometimes, and they may look very big. But they are our appointed lot–we were never promised ease. The early Christians were not taught to expect it. Don’t let us slip into the expectation of the easy. It isn’t our appointed lot.
But for us there is always another word (2 Cor 12.9): My grace is sufficient for you.
“Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence . . . As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospel . . If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. ”Blessed be the name of the Lord!’” (Avery Dulles, S.J., 39th McGinley Lecture, April 1, 2008.)
(Note: this is a respost. But you can’t get enough of a good thing. Have a blessed Sunday!)
Amy Carmichael’s note on this poem of hers: “Ps 109.21. A prayer that may be unfathomable comfort to the ill and tired: ‘Do Thou for them, for him, for her, O God the Lord.’ When one cannot pray minutely or powerfully, this prayer suffices. We need not tell Love what to do; Love knows.” God knows better than we what is best for those we love. Here Amy is simply encouraging us to trust Him who knows how to love best.
Do Thou For Me
Do Thou for me, O God the Lord,
Do Thou for me.
I need not toil to find the word
Unfolds my prayer and offers it,
My God, to Thee.
It is enough that Thou wilt do,
And wilt not tire,
Wilt lead by cloud, all the night through
By light of fire,
Till Thou has perfected in me
Thy heart’s desire.
For my beloved I will not fear,
Love knows to do
For him, for her, from year to year,
Whom my heart cherishes are dear
To Thy heart too.
O blessèd be the love that bears
The burden now,
The love that frames our very prayers,
Well knowing how
To coin our gold. O God the Lord,
Do Thou, Do Thou.
“When people are making demands on you and you feel drained and empty; when you have to speak and you have not had the time you wanted to prepare; when God calls you to a task for which you know yourself inadequate; when you feel humiliated and foolish because some undertaking in which you did your honest best has turned out disastrously–then it may be, to your astonishment, someone will tell you that you helped most, did your most fruitful work. When our ego is humbled and not obstructing, God’s creative Spirit can often have freer play. Like the bare trees, it may be that we allow the glory to shine through at these times more purely than in our summer prosperity.” (Maria Boulding)
From a letter from Helen Roseveare to a struggling paraplegic friend:
“Going back to your letter-you have said, ‘It’s one thing not to know His purposes for my life, but it’s another matter not to know what He wants of me.’ No, no! That is the next step in the darkness. We do not have to know anything except that He is El-Shaddai–He is the great Almighty Creator God who loves me and loves you, and in some amazing way, who has chosen us to be part of His program. He does NOT have to explain to us how or when or in what way. Let Him have YOU, all of you, all your thought processes, all your desperate desire to understand, to know the meaning of this whole protracted process. Stop hankering to know what He is not choosing to explain to you yet.Oh,how relatively easy to write that, but how infinitely harder to put it into practice. Give over to Him the longing for the joy and peace of the past. Just let Him be the ALL for you in the present.”