Years ago I was listening to a radio program called, “Gateway to Joy.” It featured Elisabeth Elliot who even today is considered one of the most influential Christian women of our time. Her many bestselling books, timeless teachings, and courageous faith still minister to me, personally. She used her experiences as a daughter, wife, mother, widow, and missionary to bring the message of Christ to believers people around the world.
Her first husband, Jim Elliot (still one of my many heroes of our faith), was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca (now known as Waodani) of eastern Ecuador. Elisabeth later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. Returning to the United States after many years in South America, she became widely known as the author of over twenty books and as a speaker in constant demand. And although she no longer makes speaking appearances, her program does continue to bless many. In fact, you may hear them on the Bible Broadcast Network, weekday mornings, 11:15 EST.
In one her programs, she described something I was seeking in my own walk with the Lord. She stated, “Contentment requires humility, which requires a willingness to receive what He gives, to relinquish what He takes, to suffer what He sends, and to do what He says.”
Now I confess that at the time I did want to hear those words. I was not willing to accept even the idea of surrendering every aspect of my life. I could not believe that the Lord would ever require that of me. However, as I grew closer to my Lord and King, I began to hear those words frequently repeated in my spirit. Now, my first reaction was to plug my ears and go, “Na, na, na. I don’t hear you.” But, fortunately, my dear brother and Lord was very patient (and persistent), and after thirty-six years of journeying with Him, I have finally realized what he was attempting to teach me.
You see, if we can take hold of the view that we need to surrender everything, regardless of our situation and circumstance — and do this every day, we will find greater, unadulterated peace in our lives. Yes, it is one of the many paradoxes of our faith to say that by surrender we find freedom, but that is the reality we live with. But I suppose it is no different than Yahweh being one being-essence; yet he is also three; Jesus is fully God and yet also, fully man. Out of death, we find life. I could go on and on, but the truth is we worship a very scandalous and paradoxical God!
Amazingly, I finally learned that I need to start counting the blessings where sometimes I can only see sorrow. If I do that, I will find, as Elliot put it, “the many beautiful Fingerprints of our Savior” in every one of my circumstances. Even in the situations and circumstances that I originally wondered, “Father, where is your Hand in this?”
We were talking about this recently during one of our Wednesday night Bible Studies. As one sister stated, “If we can completely relinquish ‘our rights, our desires’ at His feet, it will open our eyes to see how He orchestrated our life in the past, and how He is strategically performing His will in our lives — where our Lord will be glorified.”
I started thinking about that and remembered another point that Elisabeth made. She stated that when we are able to completely surrender to our Lord, we will begin to see how the “’blessings denied’ were ‘blessings received.’ We will recognize the Lord’s protection from what was not His best!” Wow! Well, what the heck, I will give a double, “Wow!” If we can receive revelations like this, it will be like a sunrise for our soul!
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With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.