Sunday, March 27, 2011

God's Delays

I suppose no one, however long he has lived a life of prayer, is immune to the enemy’s attack on his confidence that prayer “works.” Again and again we are tempted to feel that God is not paying attention, our prayers are futile, why should we keep on praying? Jesus told a story about a widow who made such a nuisance of herself that even a judge who cared nothing for her or for God was finally moved to action. He used this to teach us never to lose heart. “Will not God vindicate His chosen, who cry out to Him day and night, while He listens patiently to them?” (Luke 18:7). A note says that that last phrase may also be translated “While He delays to help them.” It is worth remembering, when the delays tempt us to quit praying, that He is listening patiently ---paying attention when we feel He has forgotten all about our prayer, biding His time. And He Himself is the very One, remember, who commanded us to keep on praying and never lose heart. He is listening. He will act. Do not doubt His promise.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Find Joy

When Paul was in prison he wrote a very happy letter to the Christians in Philippi. He used the word joy over and over. How did he manage to find joy in such a dark place? Was he some sort of plaster saint, immune to human misery? He was not. He found joy, I believe, because he was always looking for it. Many people are always looking for misery, and it is not hard to find. When they’ve found it, they tell everybody about it----much more about it than anybody wants to know. Others are continually looking for joy. This is not the same thing as pursuing happiness, which depends on happenings. Joy depends on Christ living in us, and being allowed to make us joyful. This can happen in the worst of earthly circumstances. From prison Paul wrote, “I wish you joy in the Lord! I will say it again: all joy be yours” (Phil 4:4). Look for joy in God and you’ll find it.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fiery Ordeals: Nothing Extraordinary

There are certainly many different kinds of suffering and degrees of intensity, but the one we happen to be facing now always seems particularly severe. Never mind. Even if it is a fiery ordeal, Peter reminds us that there is nothing “extraordinary” about it. We often refer to the “mystery” of suffering and talk as though God has provided no clues whatsoever to His purposes –if He has a purpose. He has. And His book gives a number of clues. “It gives you a share in Christ’s suffering, and that is cause for joy” (1 Peter 4:13).

Is your suffering physical? Christ knows about that.

Has a friend betrayed you? Christ knows about that.

Did someone you love break your heart? Christ knows about that.

Have you suffered a serious loss? Christ knows about that.

Is it false accusation, misrepresentation, the refusal to believe in your love? Christ knows very well what that is like.

Then in all of these things, you enter a little bit deeper into the knowledge of Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings. What are those privileges worth to you? Be joyful, then! Be thankful! Alleluia!

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot