|The Difference a Quiet Heart Will Make|
Lisa Barry: How would you classify the status of your heart today? Not your physical heart, but the inner you. Is it anxious? Worrying about something that's about to happen or that might happen in the near future? Maybe it's downtrodden and hopeless because things haven't been going your way lately. For some, you might be grieving the loss of a loved one. Well, no matter what condition your heart is in today, Elisabeth Elliot would like to steer it in a new direction. Her goal? To lead each of us to quiet our hearts, to put our trust completely in God's ability to work things out for His good purposes. But just how does that happen? Today she'll offer a few suggestions on how we can make that important transition on today's edition of 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 talk today on keeping a quiet heart.
Yesterday we talked about the difference that a quiet heart is going to make in your home, in your life, in your effect on your family. Your energies will be directed toward God and not toward yourself. I gave you a quotation from Martin Luther. He said, "God taught us to work and to watch, but never to be worried or anxious, and to commit all to Him and live in His serene tranquility with a quiet heart."
Over the years I've come across that expression "a quiet heart" in many of the old writers that have so deeply fed and instructed my spiritual life. And I began to realize I didn't have a very quiet heart. I couldn't characterize my heart in its normal state as being a quiet one. And so I began to study this matter and to pray that the Lord would give me a quiet heart. That led me to write a book called KEEP A QUIET HEART. It has many different short pieces in it. It's the sort of a book that you could give someone who likes to just have short things to read. Each chapter is complete in itself, so you don't have to read all the way through the book. You can pick it up anywhere and find something which, I trust, would be helpful toward your gaining a quiet heart.
I gave some differences that a quiet heart will make. First of all, you begin to qualify as an instrument of God's peace. Second, you will be in a position to do more for your family if your heart is quiet. Third, because your energies are directed toward God, you will not be so selfish, and fourth, instead of frustration, you find acceptance.
Now the fifth thing that I want to mention is calm. There will be far more room in your life for prayer because you will make time for prayer. Your quiet heart will make of you a calmer person. I'm not by nature calm. It isn't in me, but the Lord does calm my troubled soul as He calmed the troubled sea.
You've hear me quote from a little devotional book called DAILY STRENGTH FOR DAILY NEEDS, a book that was written by Mary Wilder Tileston about 100 years ago and she quotes from someone named Annie Keary.
This is what Annie Keary said: "I think I find most help in trying to look on all interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline; trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work, one's work for God, consists in doing some trifling, haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day."
One's work for God consists in doing some trifling, haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. That really rang bells with me because it seems that, no matter how earnestly I may settle down to what is the most difficult work at my desk, it seems that some trifling, haphazard thing gets thrown into my day. Well, where does it come from? Annie Keary says it is not a waste of time as one is tempted to think. It is the most important part of the work of the day--the part one can best offer to God.
I thought about that last sentence and I thought, "Now why would it be the most important part of the day?" Well, because it wasn't on my schedule. Because it was obviously something that was willed by God for my blessing, for my learning, for my sanctification, a very important part of the day. The things which are not on your agenda, which just happen--they're under God's control.
And she goes on to say, "After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work. Trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime and keep a quiet heart about it." And now you know where I got the title of my book, KEEP A QUIET HEART. That was very good advice for me: Don't rush after the planned work. It's my nature to just be determined that I have got to finish what I intended to finish today, and sometimes I would do it in a sloppy way just to get finished. Trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime.
We ask God to give just what He knows we need. Every day when we pray the Lord's Prayer, we say, "Give us this day our daily bread." And I look upon that word "bread" as including a great deal more than physical food. I look upon it as including my time, the tasks, the interruptions and the strength. All of those things are on God's platter, as it were; on the bread plate that He's handing to me. He measures out my time; He assigns my tasks; He allows the interruptions. Perhaps it's right to say He assigns those interruptions and He certainly gives the measure of strength that I need. So thank you Annie Keary and thank you Mary Wilder Tileston.
And you know that the things that you hear on this program are not original and they are not innovative. They come either from the Word of God or from somebody else who knows the Word of God better than I do. And I'm so grateful that God has allowed me to learn from so many other people. It's such a privilege to pass these things on to you.
Has He ever failed you? Let me ask you that question. Has God ever broken a promise? Has He ever failed you in any way? He never has failed me. Some of His promises have not worked in the way I expected them to. But over the years I can see that every one of them has been kept, often in a way that I didn't understand and I would not have chosen.
I can't emphasize strongly enough the importance of using hymns in your life. Do you have a hymnbook? Not just a songbook with praise songs, but the old hymns will teach you theology painlessly. That's the way we learned them at home. We sang hymns every day in our home. Every morning after breakfast we sang a hymn.
And one of my favorite hymns is "If Thou but suffer God to guide thee and hope in Him through all thy ways, He'll do thee good whate'er betide thee and bear thee through the evil days. Who trusts in God's unchanging love, builds on a rock that naught can move. Obey, thou restless heart; be still and wait in cheerful hope content to do whate'er His blessed will, His all-consuming love hath sent. God never yet forsook in need the soul that trusted Him indeed. Sing, pray and swerve not from His ways."
There's a good little thumbnail sketch of one way to keep a quiet heart. Sing! I think Satan hates Christian music. He can't stand it when a Christian sings and makes melody in his heart to the Lord. And so he's going to persuade you in every way that he can that it's an awful waste of time. But this hymn goes on to say,
"Sing, pray and swerve not from His ways, but do thine own part faithfully. Trust His rich promises of grace. So shall they be fulfilled in thee. Who trusts in God's unchanging love, builds on a rock that naught can move."
I told the story on Monday about my little grandson's going through the car wash with us. The lesson from that story was that this little boy didn't know what was going on. He didn't understand the loud roar of the water and the banging of the brushes against the windows of the car, and his father hadn't explained things to him. This little boy knew only one thing. He knew his father and he trusted him. And although he was afraid, he didn't cry.
Do you know your Heavenly Father? Does your eye turn immediately to His face when something goes wrong in your life? When something scares you, when your heart is filled with fear or anxiety or worry?
Do you remember the time when Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and there was a great wind that came up and the boat was almost swamped? Now we can't be too hard on those disciples, because they were fearful and they were afraid. But surely the next wave was going to send them to the bottom of the sea. And Jesus was asleep on a pillow. Wonderful story.
And Jesus, when they woke Him and said, "Don't you even care that we're perishing?"--and Jesus said, "Why is it that you have no faith? Why are you so fearful?" And He got up and He spoke to the wind and the waves. And the wind and the waves died down.
Amy Carmichael wrote, "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?"
And I remember a little song that we learned back during World War II. I was in high school. A missionary told us about a song that some Chinese refugees had written when they had to travel hundreds of miles, fleeing from their country. And this is what they sang as they marched: "I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. I will look upward and travel onward and not be afraid." May God help you to keep a quiet heart.
Lisa Barry: As we close for today, I want to encourage you to purchase a copy of Elisabeth's book, KEEP A QUIET HEART. In this busy world we live in, this book keeps short yet powerful thoughts right at your fingertips. Whether you have time to peruse or merely to skim, you'll find a challenge on every page.
The cost is $14.50. You can send that, along with your request, to Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501. Or toll-free: 1-800-759-4JOY. Be sure to check out our Web site, because we've added many helpful features. In fact, you could even e-mail today's program transcript to a friend. Find out more at gatewaytojoy.org. Today's program has been a production of Back to the Bible.
I hope you'll join us again tomorrow when Elisabeth talks about how to deal with the unexpected when it comes. That's next time on Gateway To Joy.