Sunday, August 28, 2011

Radiant With Hope

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope” (Romans 15:13, PHILLIPS).
This was Paul’s prayer for the Romans, a group of Christians he had not yet met, but he knew they were a mixed bag---Jews and non-Jews ---and were tempted to look down on one another.  It was always the prayer of my dear spiritual mother for me.  She knew my nature---not a hopeful one.  Faith raises the Christian’s sights from the conflicts and discouragements that are our routine experiences in a broken world to Him who holds out the very real hope of triumph.  It is not a forlorn hope.  It is assured, for by His Cross and passion Christ has overcome the world.  This confidence is enough reason for joy and peace.  It is enough, if I dwell on it by faith, and by the Spirits power, to make even my whole life and outlook radiant with hope.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Prayer Unites the Heart to God

When we come to God as the humble publican, asking His mercy on us because we are sinners, we are agreeing with God’s estimate of us and asking for His remedy.  Thus at the onset we are at one with God.  Julian of Norwich wrote, “Prayer oneth the soul to God.  It is a witness that the soul willeth as God willeth.”

Learning to pray has been a lifelong course for me, taking me ever deeper into the mind of Christ, where I find how in need of revision are the patterns of my own thinking.  Often the things I have been praying about, things I thought needed to be changed, having remained as they were.  But my praying about them has drawn me to the Father, who then has another “chance” (if so I may speak) to change me into the image of His Son.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Power and Love

The most powerful people are not often the most loving, and the most loving people often seem quite powerless in human terms.  When the great question is raised:  Why does God permit suffering?  It is answered by some that He is powerless to prevent it, even though He may love us, and by others that He cannot possibly be loving, for surely He does have the power to prevent evil.

When Lazarus died the crowd of mourners was divided when Jesus wept.  Some took it as evidence of how greatly He had loved the man.  Others thought it a hypocritical gesture, since one who could heal a blind man certainly could have prevented this man’s death.

Jesus did indeed love Lazarus, and Mary and Martha.  He could have prevented his death.  But certain things, in a broken world, must be allowed to happen.  None of them, however, in the hands of a loving and powerful God and Savior, are beyond redeeming.  Resurrection is a far greater evidence of the power and the love of God than the mere aborting of catastrophes.  God, help us to remember this triumphant hope when we, too, stand weeping hopelessly.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Plunged Into Grief...For Your Good

This is a strange succession of words, isn’t it? What sort of person wants to see another plunged into grief? Jesus spoke these words to His disciples about His own departure from them. He understood their human feelings, and mentioned them matter-of-factly. He did nothing to spare their feelings. Nothing could change the fact that His going would cause grief to the ones He loved best. Nothing could change the necessity of His going. He would leave, and they would sorrow. It was inexorable.

So it is very often in this sorrowing, broken world. Certain things must happen and certain people must suffer, and God does not intervene at the moment to exempt them from suffering. But He does do something. He is not oblivious up there, doing nothing. He has a plan which is also fitting together. He will give us something better. Unimaginable? Of course, as it was unimaginable for the poor disciples who didn’t want the Holy Spirit ---they wanted their Master.

Choose for us, God, nor let our weak preferring
Cheat us of good Thou hast for us designed.
Choose for us, God, Thy wisdom is inerring,
And we are fools and blind.
From “Still Will We Trust”

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot