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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2006, 03:20:19 AM »

Hope for a Hopeless Failure - Page 2
by Elisabeth Elliot


"What's that?" (I'm the one who's whispering now.) A soft noise--like wings. There's somebody there, bending over him in the moonlight. We peer through the trees. Can't tell who it is. It's not good, his being here in this garden. Too many people know they can find him here. What! Whoever was there has--why, vanished! Just like that! He is standing now, his face lifted up.

"That's the third time he's prayed the same prayer," my friend says. I didn't hear it.

We keep talking, trying to stay awake this time. He needs me, I guess. We'd better be on our toes. Not sure what's going on. Is he in danger? But he doesn't seem to know fear. Has his own ways of getting out of trouble when he wants to--remember the time he slipped through the crowd that was about to dump him over the precipice? Yes, but we told him this time he ought not to come up to the city. Bad timing.

What about what he said about our needing purse, pack, and sword now, after sending us out barefoot, without a coin or a crust, the first time? Said he had a good many other things he couldn't tell us now, but would send a spirit--Spirit of Truth, that was it--who would explain things that were going to happen.

Hours go by. We lose track of how long we talk. Yawn, relax.

"Still sleeping? Up, let's go forward." On our feet like a shot. What's happening? "My betrayer is upon us." Mob surging through the garden. Lanterns, torches, swords, cudgels.

"Master! Here, quickly, get behind...." He doesn't hear me. Walks straight up to them. ''What is it you want?" I grab my sword, swing it at one of the gang, only get his ear.

"Put up your sword,'' he tells me. "This is the cup the father has given me. Don't you realize I must drink it?"

What could we do? I follow him partway, but I can see it's all over. No point getting involved.

Years have passed now. The memory of what happened during the rest of that night is still sharp. A very dark night it was. But could I know what I know now, could I write things I write in my letters, if it had not happened?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us new birth into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! The inheritance to which we are born is one that nothing can destroy or spoil or wither. It is kept for you in heaven, and you, because you put your faith in God, are under the protection of his power . . . (1 Peter 1:3-5 NEB).

I know that mercy. I've been given that new birth. A hopeless failure, I know that living hope. No one deserved them less than I. No one can be more grateful than I, to whom so much was forgiven. Where would I be if he had not risen?

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« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2006, 04:08:42 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:13
The Path of Lonliness


Apportioned Limitations

The God who determined the measurements of the foundations of the earth sets limitations to the scope of our work. It is always tempting to measure ourselves by one another, but this easily leads to boasting or despair. It is our business to find the sphere of service allotted to us, and do all that He has appointed us to do within that sphere, not "commending ourselves."

Paul said, "We will keep to the limits God has apportioned us" (2 Cor 10:13 RSV). Jesus did that--willing to become a helpless, newborn baby, to be a growing child, an adolescent, a man, each stage bounded by its peculiar strictures, yet each offering adequate scope in which to glorify his Father.

Lord, glorify yourself through me and in the place You've set me. Let me not covet another's place or work or glory.

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« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2006, 04:09:59 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Romans 12:2
The Path of Lonliness


Interrupted Plans

We like things to go smoothly and as planned. Very often unexpected things intervene, and our plans go awry. We think we've got "problems." There is another level at which everything that happens is being engineered. "God has no problems," Corrie ten Boom said, "only plans." When ours are interrupted, his are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) "toward the goal of true maturity" (Rom 12:2 JBP). Believe God. Turn the interruptions over to Him. He is at the controls.

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« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2006, 08:07:08 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Thy List Be Done

I am a list-maker. Every day I make a list of what I must do. I have an engagement calendar and an engagement book. I have a grocery list on the wall beside the refrigerator, last year's Christmas list in this year's engagement book (so I won't duplicate gifts), a master list for packing my suitcase (so I won't forget anything), a prayer list (a daily one and a special one for each day of the week), and several others.

Recently a wholly unexpected minor operation badly interrupted my list of things to be done that week. But because God is my sovereign Lord, I was not worried. He manages perfectly, day and night, year in and year out, the movements of the stars, the wheeling of the planets, the staggering coordination of events that goes on on the molecular level in order to hold things together. There is no doubt that he can manage the timing of my days and weeks. So I can pray in confidence, Thy list, not mine, be done.

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« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2006, 11:50:36 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Exodus 13


Detours

When Pharaoh let the people go, "God did not guide them by the road towards the Philistines, though that way was the shortest.... God made them go round by way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea" (Ex 13: 17, 18 NEB).

The direct route would save time as well as wear and tear on the people, but God had something infinitely more important than economics in mind--He wanted the people to be able to sing the song of praise of chapter 15--"The Lord is my refuge and my defence...my deliverer. He is my God and I will glorify Him; He is my father's God and I will exalt Him" (Ex 15:2 NEB). They sang this song because they had firsthand experience of God's power and deliverance. Pursued by all the chariots and horses, cavalry and infantry of Egypt, they had passed through the Red Sea in safety and seen the enemy drowned. They would have missed this glorious lesson if they had taken the short road.

When we are puzzled by delays and detours, let us think about the great purpose of life: to glorify God. The lessons He wants to teach us "in the wilderness" are priceless means of providing us with a song we could not otherwise have sung: "In Thy constant love Thou hast led the people!" (Ex 15:13).

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« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2006, 11:51:47 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Time for God's Will

One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.

Lord, help me to take your yoke on my shoulder, not a yoke of my own making. May I learn from You to be gentle and humblehearted. May I find that your load is light.

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« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2006, 11:52:50 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
The Path of Lonliness


Invisible Blessings

Being very much of the earth--earthy--we always want tangible, visible things--proofs, demonstrations, something to latch onto. If we always had them, of course, faith would be "struck blind." When Jesus hung on a cross, the challenge was flung at Him: Come down! He stayed nailed, not so that spectators would be satisfied (that miracle, his coming down, would have been a great crowd-pleaser), but that the world might be saved.

Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution. Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of God will be served, and this is, for the moment, invisible. We must persist in faith. God has a splendid purpose. Believe in order to see it.

"Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome an eternal glory which outweighs them far. Meanwhile our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen" (2 Cor 4:17, 18 NEB).

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« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2006, 11:53:54 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:6-10
The Path of Lonliness


We Do Not Belong to Darkness

There are times when we cannot see our way, and it seems that darkness is about to overcome and hold us. It must have seemed so to the Christians in Thessalonica. Paul spoke of their grave suffering because of having welcomed his message. Must the coming of the light of God's truth bring suffering? Yes, often it does, and the one who has received it with joy is plunged into darkness. But darkness is not his master! He does not "belong" to it (1 Thes 5:6 NEB) but is in fact a "child of light," having been given word of things to come--resurrection, the sound of an archangel's voice, God's trumpet-call, the descent of the Lord Himself. "God has not destined us to the terrors of judgment.... He died for us so that we, awake or asleep, might live in company with Him" (5:9, 10). A small child is at peace even in the dark if his father or mother is with him. He has company. How different the darkness feels then.

Take the word of the Lord in your darkness. If He died to let us live in his company, is He likely to abandon us just because things look dark?

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« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2006, 11:55:05 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Faith Is Holding Out Your Hand

Sometimes when I was a child my mother or father would say, "Shut your eyes and hold out your hand." That was the promise of some lovely surprise. I trusted them, so I shut my eyes instantly and held out my hand. Whatever they were going to give me I was ready to take. So it should be in our trust of our heavenly Father. Faith is the willingness to receive whatever He wants to give, or the willingness not to have what He does not want to give.

I am content to be and have what in Thy heart
I am meant to be and have.
--(George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul)

From the greatest of all gifts, salvation in Christ, to the material blessings of any ordinary day (hot water, a pair of legs that work, a cup of coffee, a job to do and strength to do it), every good gift comes down from the Father of Lights. Every one of them is to be received gladly and, like gifts people give us, with thanks.

Sometimes we want things we were not meant to have. Because He loves us, the Father says no. Faith trusts that no. Faith is willing not to have what God is not willing to give. Furthermore, faith does not insist upon an explanation. It is enough to know his promise to give what is good--He knows so much more about that than we do.

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« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2006, 11:56:10 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture:
The Path of Lonliness


Where God Is Taking Us

Bishop Leslie Newbigin, in his South India Diary, tells of the union of churches which took place in South India in 1947. It was the culmination of nearly fifty years of prayer and work on the part of Indians and missionaries. At the second synod a memorable sentence was spoken: "The demand to know where we are going is one which no Christian has a right to make." The bishop writes, "In a very real sense we do not know where we are going, but we are trying to meet day by day the plain requirements of God's will. This means a constant effort to bring every part of church life and practice to the test of conformity with the Gospel."

It is not for the flock of sheep to know the pasture the Shepherd has in mind. It is for them simply to follow Him. If they knew that his plans included a valley of deep shadow, they would panic. Keeping close to the one they have learned to trust is all that is necessary. He will faithfully provide rest, refreshment, correction, and protection as the needs arise. His accompanying presence is guaranteed, all the way--even through the darkest shadows--to the house of the Lord.

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« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2006, 04:03:30 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Psalm 130:5-6
The Path of Lonliness


No Evidence of Progress

At times nothing seems to be happening. So it must be for the bird that sits on her nest. Things are apparently at a standstill. But the bird sits quietly, knowing that in the stillness something vital is going on, and in the proper time it will be shown. It takes faith and patience for the bird, and such faith and patience never seem to waver, day after day, night after night, as she bides the appointed time.

Restless and doubtful we wonder why we have nothing to show for our efforts, no visible evidence of progress. Let us remember the perfect egg--unchanged in its appearance from the day it is laid. But while the bird waits faithfully, doing the only thing she is required to do throughout those silent weeks, important things are taking place.

I wait for the Lord. My soul waits,
and in His word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more
than watchmen for the morning.
--(Ps 130:5, 6 RSV)

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« Reply #41 on: April 20, 2006, 04:04:55 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Romans 8:38-39
The Path of Lonliness


Is Faith Easy?

A young man asked me last night if it was easier to trust God here in this country, in this comfortable house, than it was "down where all the disasters were," meaning, I suppose, in the jungle. No, I told him, you live by faith wherever you are. The house was robbed last week--a small reminder that all that I am and have belongs to the Lord, to do with as He chooses. There are enough "disasters" anywhere to keep one trusting God. In the jungle there is the immanent presence of snakes, vampires, scorpions, electric eels, etc.--to say nothing of savages' spears. In Hamilton there are thieves, the possibility of fire, plumbing or electrical breakdowns, and hanging over us at all times threats of war, totalitarianism, secular humanism, economic collapse, cancer, not to mention the "small" emergencies which can bring our best-laid plans to a halt.

"I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life...neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow has any power to separate us from the love of God" (Rom 8:38-39 JBP). So wrote Paul, whose life did not represent a series of events in which we would say it was "easy to trust." It was not easy. It was necessary. A life free from suffering would be a life in which faith in God would be a mere frill. A human life, on the contrary, is one in which faith is a necessity. Only a fool tries to do without it.

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« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2006, 09:09:11 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Psalm 143:8-11
The Path of Lonliness


What Shall I Do?

It is not always possible to know whether the source of an idea or deed is God or Satan, since God sometimes covers Himself in cloud and Satan is often an angel of light. It is, however, always possible to trust the Shepherd who has promised to lead us in paths of righteousness. We must do the thing that appears to be right to do at the right time and do it by faith. That is, we do it with an honest desire to obey God and a willingness to have what He wills us to have, or not to have what He does not will us to have. If it were not for uncertainties, we would have no need to walk by faith.

Show me the way that I must take;
to Thee I offer all my heart.
Teach me to do thy will for thou art my God.
Keep me safe, O Lord, for the honor of thy name.

--(Ps 143:8,10,11 NEB)

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« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2006, 09:10:25 AM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Nehemiah 1:8-9
The Path of Lonliness


Satan's Opposition or God's Punishment

Sometimes when we are in trouble we are not sure whether the trouble is the opposition of our enemy Satan or a punishment from God. It may be both, and in any case the thing to do is pray--first, confession of sin which is known; second, asking to be shown sin which has not been acknowledged; third, prayer for deliverance in God's way and in God's time.

When the people of Israel were in great trouble and disgrace and the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down, Nehemiah sat down and wept. Then he mourned and fasted and prayed "for some days" before the God of heaven. The exile of the people and the destruction of the wall were surely the work of evil men, but they were also the means employed by a sovereign God to punish the people. "If you are unfaithful I will scatter you." Nehemiah reminded God in his prayer of this threat, but he also reminded Him of his promise: "If you return and obey...I will gather them" (Neh 1:8, 9 RSV). Nehemiah became the intercessor and the means in the hand of God for their restoration, just as their enemies had, under his sovereignty, been the means of their punishment.

It is not required that we sort out all the possibilities--"Is this God?" or "Is this Satan?"--it is required that we confess our sins and put our whole trust in the God who is in charge.

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« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2006, 11:33:08 PM »

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture: Psalm 17:15-15
The Path of Lonliness


Will God Explain Why?

We sometimes imagine that God must eventually "sit us down" and "explain" his mysterious ways to our satisfaction. Let us suppose we have never seen a skyscraper. We discover a whole city block surrounded by a board fence. Finding a knothole, we peer inside. Huge earth movers are at work; hundreds of men in hard hats are busy at mysterious tasks; cranes are being moved into place; truckloads of pipes and cement are being unloaded. What on earth is happening? There is nobody around to answer our questions. If we wait long enough, nobody will need to. When we see the finished building, all the incomprehensible activity becomes comprehensible. "Oh! So this is what that was for."

"I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Thy likeness" (Ps 17: 15 AV).

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