|Learning to Trust God|
Lisa Barry: Have you ever wished you had a stronger faith in God? When the storms of life come, do they seem to wash you out to sea where you can't get your bearings or perspective? Well, if that's the case, you're in good company, because I don't think there's anyone on this earth who can say with 100-percent assurance that they trust God perfectly in every area of life. But the fact remains that as a follower of Jesus Christ, our faith should make a difference. It's designed to be much more than just a belief system.
But how do we develop that? Do we need to wait until we've been formally admitted to the school of hard knocks? Or is there a better way? I'm happy to report that there is a better way, and all this week on Gateway To Joy, Elisabeth Elliot is going to lead us through an intense course on trusting God. Whether you're flailing right now out to sea or you'd just like to tighten your moorings, you've come to the right place. Here's Elisabeth.
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, talking with you today about keeping a quiet heart.
Many years ago, when my oldest grandson was a little boy, I was in the car with him and his father. And his father decided that it was time to go through the car wash, the automatic car wash, which can be a scary experience even for us adults on the first run-through. And as the car was drawn into that dark tunnel, I looked at my little grandson's face. He was, I think, about two years old. And I could see the fear in those big blue eyes. And his eyes went immediately to the face of his father. And then as the giant brushes began to close in and there was the roar of the water, the fear came back to his face, and he looked around at all four sides of the car to try to figure out what in the world was happening.
Now this little boy was too young to understand what was happening, his father hadn't explained a thing about this, and he didn't have any way of knowing if he was ever going to get out of here. But as he looked at the giant brushes and the cascading water coming down over the four sides, his face immediately turned to the face of his father.
Now when the final crash came--when that big rubber thing came down on the front windshield--again, once again, his eyes darted to the face of his father. And then the car was drawn out into the sunshine and his face broke into a big smile. He had not understood what was happening. He didn't know whether we were going to get out of there or not. He knew one thing: he knew his father. And he knew that his father had never given him reason not to trust him.
In learning to keep a quiet heart, we must first begin by learning to trust God. He is there. Our Father is with us. We will not go through any dark tunnels, any deep valleys, any hot fires, without the presence of our Heavenly Father. The Christian life is meant to teach us to trust Him. Every experience in life is meant to teach us to trust Him.
In Mark 4:35 we have the lovely story of Jesus in the boat. "'Let us go over to the other side,' Jesus had said to His disciples. And leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along just as He was in the boat. There were also other boats with them. A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped."
It just so happens that I am recording this program on a day when the sea is gray and wintry and the waves are crashing over the rocks below the house. As many of you know, I record these programs in my home in Magnolia, Massachusetts. And we look out over Massachusetts Bay. It's a battleship gray today and the sky is gray and the wind is wild and the rain is coming down.
So here's the story. A furious squall came up, the waves broke over the boat, which is not hard for us to imagine as we look at this sea today. And Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. Don't you love it? Jesus sleeping on a cushion. That little touch that just reminds us of His humanness.
"And the disciples woke Him and said, 'Teacher, don't you care if we're drowned?' And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet. Be still.' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him.'"
What was the secret of Jesus' calm and the fact that He was able to sleep in the midst of a raging storm? It was trust in His Father. What was the secret of the disciples' panic? Lack of trust. "Why is it that you have no faith?" Jesus said to them.
Amy Carmichael wrote a lovely poem called "The Age-Long Minute." "Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow; Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea. What matter beating wind and tossing billow if only we are in the boat with Thee? Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute while Thou art silent and the wind is shrill. Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it? Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?"
There may be someone listening to me today who is experiencing what seems like the "age-long minute" when God is not answering. Think of those words. "Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute while Thou art silent and the wind is shrill. Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it? Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?"
Let's remember He's in the boat. He's in this pain, in this trial, in this disaster with us. And He is not worried. He is not upset. He is not anxious, because He is Lord of the winds, Lord of the waves, and Lord of every circumstance that touches us.
Someone has said that what pagans call circumstance, Christians call the will of God. He's there with you. Trust Him. Trust in His sovereignty, in His power to overcome all obstacles and to control everything in the universe.
My father was a worrier and so was my mother and so am I, by temperament. But the Lord has been teaching me things. And years ago, back in the 1950s, my father was deeply worried about what was happening to his business. And I found this quotation from George MacDonald that I copied out onto a little piece of 3 X 5 paper and my father carried it in his wallet until he died. And I have that very same little slip of paper here in my notebook.
This is what George MacDonald said: "The care that is filling your mind at this moment, or but waiting till you lay the book down to leap upon you, that need which is no need, is a demon sucking at the spring of your life." And the other person-this is a dialogue. The other person says, 'No, mine is a reasonable care, an unavoidable care indeed.'
"'Is it something you have to do this very moment?' 'No.' 'Then you are allowing it to usurp the place of something that is required of you at this moment.' 'There is nothing required of me at this moment.' 'Nay, but there is. The greatest thing that can be required of a man.' 'And what's that?' 'Trust in the living God.' 'I do trust Him in spiritual matters.' 'Everything is an affair of the spirit.'"
Do you trust in God's sovereignty? One who truly believes in God is not worried about tomorrow. When I was a little girl, we spent our summers in Franconia, New Hampshire, in a lovely old lodge built by my great-great uncle in 1889.
And in the tiny little room where I used to sleep was this poem posted above the bed: "Sleep sweetly in this quiet room, O thou whoe'er thou art, and let no mournful yesterdays disturb thy peaceful heart. Nor let tomorrow scare thy rest with thoughts of coming ill. Thy Maker is thy changeless friend; His love surrounds thee still. Forget thyself and all the world, put out each feverish light; the stars are watching overhead. Sleep sweetly then, goodnight."
It was such a comfort to me to snuggle down under the covers after I'd read that poem, and I could smell the lovely pine and balsam that wafted through the window. And I could hear little Gale River rippling over the stones down at the foot of the bank, and I was comforted and happy.
Remember, if you're worried and unhappy tonight, or this morning, or today, thy Maker is thy changeless friend. His love surrounds thee still. Remember that everything is an affair of the spirit. Remember that Jesus is in the boat with you and He is the One who is in control even of wind and waves. If He can control the tides and the planets and the strong winds and the soft winds and the waves of the ocean, and every human being has been created by His hand, do you not think that He is able to take care of you? To be there in the boat with you? To speak the word and calm the storm?
What is the storm that you are experiencing right now? Look up. Look up to God. Remember He's not worried. He's not anxious about it. He knows what the end will be. You don't know what the end is, and that's what makes you worry so much. And He's saying to you, "Trust Me. I'm in charge. I have the keys. My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. And you will keep a quiet heart."
Lisa Barry: As we close today's program, I want to encourage you to purchase a copy of the book Elisabeth has been referring to today called KEEP A QUIET HEART. This is a great resource for any of you who like to read short excerpts on important topics. Each entry is anywhere from one to four pages and covers a broad range of subjects. Use it as food for thought or something to go along with your Bible reading each day. Again the title is KEEP A QUIET HEART.
The cost is $14.50. Just send that, along with your request, to Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501. Our toll-free number is 1-800-759-4JOY. Our Web address is gatewaytojoy.org. Gateway To Joy is a listener-supported production of Back to the Bible.
Well, if God's sovereignty seems a bit arbitrary to you at times, you'll want to be sure and join us tomorrow when Elisabeth talks about that and much more the next time we meet for Gateway To Joy.