I have been fascinated with the life of John the Baptist these past few years. Today being the Feast of his death, I cannot but help think back to an insight I gained through reading Amy Carmichael that has never left me: the notion of living a life of taking no offense at the Lord and whatever He may be about in our lives, whether we understand what He is doing or not. I’ll let Amy speak for herself:
I have been reading Luke 1. “With God nothing shall be impossible” [Luke 1.37]. Then I read Acts 12. James was killed in prison; Peter was set free. God, with whom nothing is impossible, did not answer the prayers of those who loved James in the same way as He answered prayers of those who loved Peter. He could have done so, but He did not. “And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me” [Luke 7.43]. The words seem to me to be written across Acts 12. John must have wondered why the angel was not sent to James, or at least have been tempted to wonder. Again and again in Acts the Lord Jesus seems to say those words under His breath, as it were. Let us turn all our puzzles, all our temptations to wonder why, into opportunities to receive the blessing of the unoffended.
And now all the grief of those days has been utterly forgotten by those who loved James; they have all been together with him in the Presence of the Lord for 1900 years, and the one thing that matters now is how they lived through those days when their faith was tried to the uttermost.
So it will be with any who are longing to see the answer to their prayers for those who are in affliction, or any other adversity. In a few years–how few we do not know, but few at most–we shall all be together in joy. So with us, too, all that matters is how we live through these days while we are trusted to trust. (Thou Givest . . . They Gather, p. 76)
Sometimes we see this lived out so well among the very poor or the very sick–an abandonment, a complete surrender, a unsullied trust in God and His ways. May we too be among those who live their lives as “unoffended.”