Sorry to say I have been neglecting this blog for way too long. Especially during these times we have need of witnesses to hope. Here’s a pertinent quote from my old friend, Amy Carmichael. May you find encouragement in her words.
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.
“Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” (Ps 63.7)
“As the apple tree–or any beautiful tree–among the trees of the wood, so I, my Beloved among the sons, I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Song of Songs 2.3)
“So there is joy and nourishment for our souls in the shadow of our Lord. Sometimes we fear as we think of the shadow–‘They feared as they entered the cloud’ (Lk 9.34).” But after those three disciples had entered into the shadow of that cloud, they found it so wonderful that they wanted to stay there. Let us not be afraid of the shadows. Let us not be afraid of the clouds. We often meet Him in thick clouds. The shadow is the shadow of our Beloved. He is very near to the place where His shadow is.” (Amy Carmichael)
“I have been thinking of how many unexplained things there are in life. Our Lord Jesus who could have explained everything, explained nothing. He said there would be tribulation, but He never said why. Sometimes He spoke of suffering being to the glory of God, but He never said how. All through the Scriptures it is the same. I cannot recall a single explanation of trial. Can you? We are trusted with the Unexplained. May the Lord our God strengthen us all in every little call upon faith, as well as in every great call, so to live in patience and steadfastness, that the trial of our faith . . . may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, Whom having not seen, we love.” (Amy Carmichael)
I lost my second mother this past week. She lived an amazingly fruitful life and was finally able to go Home. Nonetheless, her loss is hitting me hard. And, as with all loss, it brings up all the other losses in my life.
One of my go to books during times like this is Edges of His Ways by Amy Carmichael. (I consider her a mother to me also.) Here’s the selection for today:
Ps 18:30: As for God, His way is perfect.
God is love, so we may change the word and say, As for Love, His way is perfect. This has been helping me.
One of the ways of Love is to prepare us beforehand for any hard that that He knows is near. Perhaps this word will be His loving preparation to some heart for a disappointment, or for some trial of faith, something know to others, or some secret sorrow between the Father and His Child. As for Love, His way is perfect.
November 29, 2000
“‘The soul of the wounded calleth for help, and God does not regard it as foolish.’ Whatever the wounding be, however trivial it may appear, so that the soul would be ashamed to tell its inward distress, from whatever side the wind of unstableness blows, the soul of the wounded may call for help, and God will not regard it as foolish.” (Amy Carmichael)
November 29, 2000
“Have we not often been like George Tankervil? We have imagined what was coming, and perhaps tested our constancy by some fire of our own kindling, and faith and courage have suddenly collapsed. For grace to endure and to conquer is never given till the moment of need, but when that moment comes? O Savior, who dost not forget Thy Calvary, hast Thou ever failed the soul that trusted Thee? Never, never. By the merits of Thy Blood all is well, all shall be well.” (Amy Carmichael)
November 25, 2000
“True valor lies, not in what the world calls success, but in the dogged going on when everything in the man says Stop.” (Amy Carmichael)
I have two 600 page journals mostly filled with quotes that have struck me, moved my heart, convicted me, strengthened me. I thought I would start going through the first–the blue one–and just passing them on to you. I hope they serve the same purpose in your lives as they have in mine.
November 25, 2000:
“The pledged word of God to man is no puffball to break at a touch and scatter into dust. It is iron. It is gold, the most malleable of all metals. It is more golden than gold. It abideth imperishable for ever. If we wait till we have clear enough vision to see the expected end before we stay our mind on Him who is our Strength, we shall miss an opportunity that will never come again: we shall never know the blessing of the unoffended. Now is the time to say, ‘My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise,’ even though as we say the words there is no sense of exultation. ‘It is possible to gather gold, where it may be had, with moonlight,’ by which I understand something less helpful than daylight would be in the search and the finding of gold. By moonlight, then, let us gather our gold.” (Amy Carmichael)
“It does sometimes seem almost unbelievable that the soul of man can pass through so many devastating experiences and yet not be devastated. The explanation lies in such words as these: ‘He knoweth the way that I take’ (Job 23.10).” (Amy Carmichael)
The psalm for tomorrow’s Liturgy is Psalm 18, written by David when God saved him from the hand of Saul. It begins “I love thee, O Lord, my strength.” Here is Amy Carmichael’s commentary on this and the next verse.
Let us pray for one another that we may not go into caves. [cf. Ps 142] Any one of us might do it at any moment, but for the grace of God. The heading of this Psalm says that it is the Song which David spoke to the Lord . . . when he was delivered from his enemies—those enemies who had driven him into the cave.
There are many caves besides the cave of selfishness and self-love . . .; but whatever our cave is, the moment we get out, the devil is sure to tell us we shall soon be back again, and so the second verse in the LXX is delightful: ‘The Lord is my firm support’.
Is that not just what we want? We know our weakness, we have proved it many a time; but we need not fall, for ‘the Lord is our firm support’. I have noticed that some of the happiest people are not by nature the strongest, but they are those who love the Lord their Strength with a confident, joyful love; and they are not constantly thinking of themselves and their weakness, nor do they ever dream of not enjoying what He gives them to do, for ‘the joy of the Lord is [their] strength’, and their Lord is their firm support.”