Restlessness and Worry
The book of Ecclesiastes was written by a very restless man. He was fed up with his life and everything had become meaningless to him. He wrote, “I hated life…. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:17-18). Do you find yourself in the same boat? . . .
What the Savages Taught Me
For the whole first year that I lived with the Auca Indians (1958–1959), I watched and learned and kept my mouth shut. I had to keep my mouth shut most of the time because I did not know the Auca language. Although the language itself was highly complex, the definition of my task was simple: learn it. I spent a second year there . . .
To a New Widow
I know the proportion of that pain, and there is no minimizing it here and now. I also know the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:17, “These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.” The bigger our pain now, the bigger that “weight of glory” will be. It’s mysterious, it’s unimaginable, but it’s going to be, and for that we give thanks. . .
“Could You Not Wait?”
Olive trees are not much good for leaning against. Too knobby. I kick away a few stones and sit down on the ground, knees braced in my arms. The other two stand for a while, eyeing the one who has gone off alone. “Might as well sit down,” I say. They don’t answer. Long day. Tired. I look up through the trees. Ragged clouds, thin moon. . .
Hope as an Anchor
“I hope it doesn’t snow tomorrow,” we say, thinkng of our plans to visit family or friends. Or, “We’re just hoping they finish the road repairs in front of the church before the wedding,” “I sure hope Susie calls after her plane lands.” This kind of hope is wishful thinking, sometimes even foolish optimism, and it is not true hope. . .
Christmas on a Bed of Pain
It is nearly Christmastime. We don’t usually think of suffering during this glad season if we can help it. “It’s Jesus’ birthday!” we tell tiny tots, and we set about making cookies and gifts and trimming the house and the tree.
The very joyfulness of Christmas makes it especially hard for those who suffer. . .
Deliver Us From Temptation
Is there a way of life, a manner of serving the Lord, that will deliver us from the temptations and distractions of the world? Life in a convent or monastery looks to many of us on the outside as though it would almost guarantee a degree of holiness that is far beyond the rest of us. But a letter from a friend who is a nun showed me that there is no such guarantee.
Response Is What Matters
What do we really want in life? I am surprised at how few of us have a ready answer. Oh, we can come up with quite a long list of things, but is there one thing above all others that we desire? “One thing I have desired of the Lord,” said David, “that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…” (Psalm 27:4, NKJV).
Amy Carmichael, God’s Missionary
As an old woman I find myself often in a quiet reverie, pondering the countless blessings of my long life, and marveling at the way the Lord God has led me. I think very often of my lovely mother, who sang to us—“Jesus, tender Shepherd hear me,” and “I went to visit a friend one day—,” and of my earnest father, who taught us the great hymns of the faith such as “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “It Is Well With My Soul.” We six Howard children were well acquainted with missionaries. . .
Exulting in Suffering
So often people make remarks such as, “Isn’t it strange how God allows such awful things to happen—and she’s such a good person.” It isn’t all mystery, though of course God’s permission of evil in the world is fathomless to us mortals. He has told us the most important reasons why we must suffer if we belong to Him.
Struggling in Prayer
People who ski happen to enjoy skiing; they have time for skiing, can afford to ski, and are good at skiing. I have found that I often treat prayer as though it were a sport like skiing— something you do if you like it, something you do in your spare time, something you do if you can afford the trouble, something you do if you’re good at it. Otherwise, you do without it most of the time. When you get in a pinch you try it, and then you call an expert. But prayer isn’t a sport. It’s work.
Called to Act
Among the treasures in a box of old family papers, I found a series of letters from a great-aunt who was serving as a hostess in a rest house in Virginia during World War I. She was a lady unused to working for a living, but her husbandhad dropped dead one day at the bank where he worked, and she had to find a way to support herself. She had opened a home for soldiers and sailors, many of whom were terribly homesick, some of them just back from the front with permanent disabilities.
Service to God
There has often been a tendency to think of service to God as necessarily entailing physical hardship and sacrifice. Although this is not really a scriptural idea, it has gained wide acceptance. It is easy to recall the saints who “climbed the steep ascent of heaven through peril, toil, and pain,” but the Bible also makes mention of Dorcas whose service to God was the making of little coats.
Anarchy or Discipline?
A Houston high school principal described the new educational system as a “cross-graded, multi-ethnic, individualized, open-ended learning program with the main objective being to learn respect for the uniqueness of a person.” Perhaps that is what the parents of most children nowadays accept as education. . .
A Strange Peace
Shortly before my daughter Valerie, my only child, went off to college as a freshman, a “sudden tide” came over me one morning as I was working in the kitchen. She had been the great joy of my life for seventeen years. When she was about eleven or twelve, friends heard me speak of what seemed to me a near-perfect mother-daughter relationship. . .
The Sovereignty of God
Perhaps it seems that I’m “biting off more than I can chew” by beginning this small newsletter with such an awesome subject. Sovereignty means, among other things, supremacy—such as the power held by kings and presidents. But God’s sovereignty is infinitely greater than any other. How wonderful it is to know that “He’s got the whole world in His hands”!
An Assigned Portion
As we near the end of another year we may take eart, remembering the psalmist’s words, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure” (Psalm 16:5, NIV). Nothing brings greater security and quietness to the soul than the assurance that in everything “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. . .
The Grand Lesson
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). It is the apostle Paul who speaks so unequivocally to us, no matter in what circumstances we find ourselves. His words are not empty. He had endured hard work, imprisonments, floggings, exposure to death again and again, five times had received forty lashes minus one. . .
As We Forgive Those
Two couples had gone together on vacation. What had been a happy friendship had somehow turned to bitterness. They had not spoken since. Several years later one of the women called me in distress, told me the sad story, and said she had now been asked to participate in the christening of her erstwhile friend’s baby.
Angry at God?
My faith has been challenged, there has been bitterness in my heart toward God, I have been angry at Him for withholding this blessing from me.” The mail brings me many variations on this theme. Occasionally I am asked if I have ever been bitter or angry toward God because He took from me two much-loved husbands (He has mercifully given me yet a third—none of them sought after).
Whatever Happened to Courtship?
Two of my books, Passion and Purity and Quest For Love, have generated a gratifying response from readers. The first is our story—Jim Elliot’s and mine—written with the hope of convincing young peo- ple that with God’s help it is entirely possible to guard that priceless gift which can only be given away once: the gift of virginity. . .