Lisa Barry: Let's imagine that everything you've been fretting over lately was a sack of flour. You wake up tomorrow and after you dress, begin to add one sack at a time to your back. You add a 30-pound sack representing your children; your marriage weighs 20 pounds. That rift with a neighbor has grown to about 12 pounds. And lastly, you strap on a 50-pound sack labeled "the future." You crouch from the weight and head out the door. Is that what God wants? Elisabeth Elliot would say no. Find out what her answer is next on Gateway To Joy.
Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, continuing my talks on waiting on God--a tough discipline for a lot of us.
Did you ever stop to think about what Daniel had to go through when the king had ordered that some young men were to be given new names, but Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. He asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way. He persuaded the guards to let him eat just vegetables and to drink water.
Did he know what the outcome was going to be? He had been in touch with God, and he felt very strongly that this was what God was asking him to do--although it seemed ridiculous to the people in the palace. He asked that he be compared with those other young men who ate the royal food. And he agreed to this--the steward agreed to it, and so tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days, the Bible says they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. It must have taken a lot of quiet waiting on God for Daniel to hear His voice, to know just what God was asking him to do--which seemed to be against the rules of the king's palace.
Yet, you know that wonderful story of Daniel and his action and his trust in God. He had to go into the lions' den. God did not deliver him from having to go in there. But you boys and girls who are listening to us, you know perfectly well what happened when he went into the lions' den. Did they eat him? Of course not! God shut the mouths of the lions. But Daniel was willing to accept whatever God wanted to happen.
I think way back to my jungle experience following my husband Jim Elliot's death. When five American missionaries were killed by a tribe who were then called Aucas. I was on a jungle station with a different tribe, the Quichua Indians that Jim and I had been working with. I prayed what seemed rather ridiculous at that time, I just said, "Lord, if there could possibly ever be anything that you want me to do about the Auca Indians, I'm available." Not supposing that it would be likely that God is going to ask of woman to take a baby into an area where that baby's father had been killed.
I think of all the amazing ways in which God changed my own notions as to what was going to happen. The time came when providentially I happened to be in another station, much closer to where the Auca Indians had lived. Out of the blue two Quichua Indians arrived at the door and said, "We've got two Auca women at our house. Would you like to come and visit them?"
So it happened that I went with these two Quichua men six hours over the trail, and there were two Auca women speaking a language that none of us understood. There wasn't anything for me to do but just wait on God. I had to say, "Lord, I don't know what You want me to do. I don't know why you put me in that other station in order to come down here and meet these women. What am I to do? I can't understand a word they say, but just show me."
That's just one little incident out of many in my life which prove to me that God does know exactly what He's going to do. God knows how to engineer the results, and our part is waiting on God.
Amy Carmichael wrote,
"Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow.
Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
What boat are you in today, wondering whether you're going to make it to land, wondering what you're going to do about this wind that's getting more and more shrill. What if the boat sinks? "Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?" No, of course not.
To wait on the Lord means to relinquish my position of sovereignty. In other words, I am not in charge. I completely surrender myself to God's sovereignty. The need to wait is a revelation of my own ignorance, my own immaturity. God says, "You aren't up to what you thought you were. Be still."
Hannah Whitehall Smith says, "The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self--our own daily living, our frames and feelings." And that word frames, I think in her day meant moods. "Our special weaknesses and temptations, and our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind--these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else. And that bring us oftenest into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself." I better read that again. "In laying off your burdens, the first one you must get rid of is yourself."
How do I do that? You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your moods and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God. And leave them there. You know, sometimes we lay our all on the altar and then what happens? We pick them up and take them off again. We're supposed to leave them there. God made you, and therefore He understands you and He knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it.
Is my judgement wiser than God's? Well, of course not. Yet there are times when I even forget to ask God for His direction. 2 Chronicles 20:12, a verse I've quoted many times. "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."
Janet Erskine Stuart said, "Nothing is more educating to our souls; it's a special exercise in faith, patience, conformity to God's will, when we are kept in the balance of yes and no. And exercise in complete detachment and the constant check of unavoidable uncertainty." Try to remember those two words, will you? Unavoidable uncertainty.
There are many experiences in life, which come under that heading. "Constant check of unavoidable uncertainty shows that it is one of God's special lessons. So we will be glad God unfolds His plan to us only a day's journey at a time, because it keeps us in closer touch and closer dependence on Him." Wonderful, isn't it, to realize that God is there and that He's asking us simply to wait on Him.
One of the things that God has had to deal with me about is my urge to control other people. In Micah 7 we read, "A son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man's enemies are the members of his own household. But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord. I wait for God, my Savior. My God will hear me." I watch in hope for the Lord. I wait for God my Savior. My God will hear me.
Now this business of my urge to control other people, I don't think of myself as being a particularly controlling person. But then, I suddenly am shown by the Spirit of God some areas in which I have tried to. For example--how many children did my daughter really need? I look back to the time when five-o'clock one morning she and her husband came into the guestroom where I was sleeping to tell me that number five was on the way. I was not really happy about that, not because I didn't want her to have a big family. I thought it would be wonderful for her to have a big family, but it seemed a little too soon after number four.
My urge to control others just disintegrated, and I realized the Lord was saying to me, "It is none of your business." Then when her son was in his teens, like 15 or 16, he had the most appalling haircut. I wanted to get my daughter to do something about it. And she was under her husband's direction. Her husband said, "We are not going to make an issue of a haircut."
I wish sometimes that I could get my husband to organize his office differently. Nothing doing. I think about a certain mess in the church that I belong to. Can I control people? It's my job to wait on the Lord. God's business is God's business. My business is meant to be surrendered to Him. Leave it to Him. The Lord is saying, "I'll take care of it. You keep your mouth shut. My timing is always right."
Lisa Barry: I'm sure we can all testify to that as we look over our lives. If only we could have the faith to believe that that will always be the case when we're trusting God. We at Gateway To Joy also have to trust God to provide the resources we need to keep Gateway To Joy going strong. We aren't underwritten by any big companies or organizations. Our operating expenses are met by people like you who give financially and prayerfully because Gateway To Joy is meeting a need in your life. Some of you have been waiting to give, but now is a great time to go ahead and do that. Here's the address to write to:
Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501. That's Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501. You can also purchase a copy of God's Guidance when you call this toll free number, 1-800-759-4JOY. That's 1-800-759-4569. Or dial up our Web site at gatewaytojoy.org. You can order books, find daily devotionals and much more.
Gateway To Joy has been a production of Back to the Bible. Tomorrow Elisabeth continues to stretch our patience. So make it a point to join us for the next Gateway To Joy.