Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Long Leisure of Eternity

I've been reading a great book of collected short reflections by Elisabeth Elliot. It's called Secure in the Everlasting Arms. I love it! Here's one of the chapters I read today. It helped me to realize a new thing—sometimes lying down is ok, and is God's timing! I'm so glad we can trust Him to carry out to completion the good work He began in us.
In Maud Monahan’s Life and Letters of Janet Erskine Stuart, she describes the long years of waiting on God, and how He took nine years, “with all the long leisure of Eternity,” to bring her to a Guide who would “lead her soul out into paths of confidence and joy.” 
That word helped me to see that some of what I would have called my own stalling and obtuseness may have been the Lord’s own timing. He makes us wait. He keeps us on purpose in the dark. He makes us walk where we want to run, sit still when we want to walk, for He has things to do in our souls that we are not interested in. 
There have been times, on the other hand, when He wanted me to run but I only walked. Let us remember, however, that the Shepherd Himself sometimes makes us lie down. Some of the “delays” are His own choice for us, so we must not always chide ourselves when the pace is not what we thought it should be. We must learn to move according to the timetable of the Timeless One, and be at peace. 
“My times are in Thy hand” (Psalm 31:15 KJV). That is where I want them to be, Father. May I rest in the sure knowledge that my hours and days are safely kept. 
O LOVE BEYOND COMPARE, Thou art good when thou givest, when thou takest away, when the sun shines upon me, when night gathers over me. Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world, and in love didst redeem my soul; Thou dost love me still, in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust. Thy goodness has been with me another year, leading me through a twisting wilderness, in retreat helping me to advance, when beaten back making sure headway. Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead; I hoist sail and draw up anchor, With thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past. I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead. If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation, thou wilt be with me in them; If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation, I shall not drown; If I am to die, I shall see thy face the sooner; If a painful end is to be my lot, grant me grace that my faith fail not; If I am to be cast aside from the service I love, I can make no stipulation; Only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial, as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use. 
—From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, ed. Arthur Bennett 

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