Tuesday, February 4, 2014

When Praying Became Striving

(King's Gap State Park)

When you pray hundreds of thousands of prayers, weeping, fervent prayers....do you know your prayers never die?  And that God doesn't stop answering them?  And that you can only see a tiny glimpse of the big picture, that He is working mightily behind the scenes in ways that you may never know this side of heaven?

And that there can be a season when the praying, the weeping, the travailing....it becomes striving?  And if you ask Him to consume you, abide in you, take you over, live through you, that sometimes it becomes a time of releasing....which is a part of trusting.....and thanking Him for what He is doing because even though you can't see behind the scenes, He is working.

Know this.  He. is. working.

My favorite author, Grace Livingston Hill, in "Blue Ruin", said it to me this way, yesterday:

....how this law of life through death affects every relationship in life.  How in learning new spiritual truths, even the great oft-heard doctrine of Christ's victory on the cross over sin, we have to get to the point where we give up utterly, in despair of ourselves, before the Holy Spirit can really teach and make a part of us the truth which before we had learned only with our minds.  For then, in that hour of death, when we find ourselves at the end of our own power and we throw up our hands and say, "Lord, I can do nothing," then we find that truth which we though was learned long ago is the only thing which can grip us and bring us out into victory.  
     He spoke of service, how it, too, comes under this law of life through death.  How we must die even to our service for Christ sometimes before it can be effectually used by Him.  How there comes a time in our service when from sheer force of circumstances, adversity, and fruitlessness we feel that we are at an end.  That is our testing time.  When that time comes, no self-life is left, but only Himself in us, free now to work.  Then is the time when we discover just how much of our work was a matter of popularity.  Whether we were out to make a name for ourselves; whether it mattered to us when people said nice things about our work, or when they said mean things and criticized.
     "From all this self-life, we have to be emancipated before God can use us," went on the preacher earnestly.  "We have to get to the place where is does not matter in the least what people say or do, so long as God is satisfied and we are in the way of His will.  This is the way of peace and the way of victory.  But we have to go down to the realm of death, the 'I' has been crucified that Christ in the power of His resurrection can be revealed."

When the cross has done its work, there is liberation from all human limitations, and Christ breaks forth from the grave in a way that gives Him mastery of the whole situation.  Those who have been identified with Him in His death are raised by Him to a life on a supernatural level, and through them He achieves such things as were before utterly impossible.  

Was this God's message especially for her?  It was in some ways just what her mother had said, and yet---it went further.  It was one thing to have something wrenched from you and to bow to God's will; it was a step further to hand that precious thing over and let Him do His will.  Was she ready to do that with Dana?  Just give him up to the Lord?  Maybe he would find the way to God and know all this deeper message someday, but was she willing that, in order to work this for him, and perhaps for herself, too, she should hand over the thing she prized most in life?

Very often it does seem as if God requires a lot of us; that this cross makes tremendous invasion , tremendous demands, and sometimes forces the demand to the point of pain when we have to hand over to Him something very dear.  We seem all the time to be givinggiving.  It seems that the law of sacrifice is tremendously at work.  But this is the road and the law by which, and by which alone, the infinite and transcendent gain can come.

Are you prepared to let go in order to obtain?  Let go the temporal for the eternal, the transient for the abiding, the earthly for the heavenly, the present glamour for the ultimate glory?  This is the way to possess all things.....The compensation is overwhelming as at the cross we lay our treasure in the dust....that the Almighty should be our treasure.  

Be blessed today.



Linda O'Connell said...

carol, I plan to share this with someone who needs to hear it. Thank you for the inspirational post.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I believe when He said He would give us the desires of our heart, that meant when we seek His will. This is a weighty post, full of good stuff.

Vee said...

Dear Grace would know much about this...she certainly had her share of woes and learned how to lean wholly on The Lord. This is a very meaty post. Thank you for urging me to visit today.

Cheryl said...

Deep, moving words. I think I need to read some Grace Livingston Hill...

annie said...

I read that several years ago. very very inspiring! Most of her books were, I thought the old 1930 and 40's ones were so much better than the later reissues. Thanks so much. On and on I go, but everyday I still have not died to myself. I think I often strive too much, in the hanging on...to me. Blessings!

The Old Parsonage said...

I hadn't heard of her before. Thanks for bring her to my life!!

Stay safe today - what a mess!

Debbie said...

I love Grace Livingstone Hill, and I love this whole post. You have no idea how 1. timely this is (and) 2. How many other posts I have read just this morning which line up with it (so back to #1... how timely it is.)

(And we didn't get a new kitten. My niece and her husband did. The husband just won't have a cat so I have to love other people's cats instead. I definitely love that one! )

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

Wow...I am sending this to a friend today. So much of this spoke to me and will also speak to my friend. Thanks for posting!!

victorian parlor II said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this:).



Anita Johnson said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post today...visiting from Spiritual Sundays.