Tag Archive for Elizabeth Elliot

Advice from Elisabeth Elliot

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Maybe someone who should be doing good to you is doing you harm.

A friend betrays you or a parent hurts you deeply. A child becomes terminally ill. A church member betrays you. A spouse walks out for good.

In all these things our hearts rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows, or even cares.

advice

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by the very people he was on mission to help. Speared through by the Auca Indians.

In an instant, her world changed. Her husband was gone and she found herself a widow. Her children were fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices:

to see God as a loving, wise Father who always does what is best for her  or

to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God.

Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. A life of faith is a life of trust.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They welcomed and walked the hard path through faith. The surrendered their life to His plans.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness. She longed and prayed for children while living under the provoking taunting of her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

“It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning: the “fruit” of the spirit of the “fruit” of the flesh.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

We are living under the gracious hand of our Heavenly Father. How can we doubt Him? In child-like faith, we accept whatever He chooses to give knowing that though it looks bad and sometimes is hard, it’s for our own good and His glory.

If you are discouraged today and fearful, remember the God who loves you and is in control, and pray for faith to trust Him.

MORE FROM ELISABETH ELLIOT:

Keep a Quiet Heart

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

 

 

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Dealing With Loneliness

A week ago, someone close to me called me and told me that she was struggling with loneliness, and asked me to address it on my blog, because she felt that others, too, must struggle with loneliness and that perhaps the information could be helpful.

That girl was my oldest daughter, Rebekah.

Me, Rebekah and Emily

The motherly instincts inside me were raging and I was inclined to instantly hop on the next plane to South Carolina and make it all better. As she was muttering the words “I’m struggling with being lonely” I was hightailing it to my computer to search Expedia for discount flights out of Boston. The fact that we couldn’t afford it entered my mind and exited just as quickly. Debt? Who cares. This is my kid, I tell you. A little food, some retail therapy and some laughs would make her happy again.

But thankfully my emotional response gave way to reason. Although I endured a sleepless night worrying about my girl, in the morning I knew that what Rebekah was experiencing was part of God’s plan to mature her in the faith.

She needed to find her solace in God. This is the hard path. The easy path would be what I was inclined to do in my “mother love” moment. Tamper with externals–>the retail therapy, the “have another cupcake” stuffing of the void inside. The hard path is to quiet yourself before your Creator and seek Him.

The next day she called me and said “Mom, ya know how I told you that I was struggling with loneliness? Well last night I made a list of all the qualities I long for in a good friend, and then went to my Bible. I started writing down all the areas that God is like that in the Scripture, and I realized that He is what I  really need to be satisfied.” She was driven to seek God.

Yes, dearest Rebekah, You are so right. “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” And thankfully, the Holy Spirit showed you truth, when your heart sick mother failed you. :)

And because I want to point you in the right direction, here is some advice from Elizabeth Elliot from her booklet “Loneliness” that was helpful to me.

Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge.

Remember that you are not alone. “The Lord, He it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee neither forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage.” (Deut. 31.8) Jesus promised His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:20) Never mind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for one moment forgetting you.

Give thanks. In times of my greatest loneliness I have been lifted up by the promise of 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which seems a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.

Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.

Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last.

Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others.

Do somethings for somebody else. No matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you. Pray that you may be an instrument of God’s peace that where there is loneliness you may bring joy.

“The important thing is to receive this moment’s experience with both hands. Don’t waste it. “Wherever you are, be all there,” Jim once wrote. “Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

 

Your Heart in Hard Times

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Or maybe someone who should be doing you good is doing you harm. A friend betrays you or a parent  hurts you deeply. Maybe you have a child who is terminally ill. In all these things our hearts  rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows or even cares.

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by people he was trying to help. He was trying to befriend the Auca Indians and they killed him. Her husband was gone in an instant. She found herself a widow; her children fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices. To see God as a loving and wise Father who always  does what is best for her  or to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God. Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. We can chose to trust, or we can choose to sin.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They chose faith and obedience even though things would be hard.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness and longed and prayed for children while living with the taunts of  her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning.  The “fruit” of the spirit will be evident or the “fruit” of the flesh, aka sin.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

Our desire has to be for God alone, His glory and our growth in Christlikeness. Then our desire will be an awareness of His control in our lives, glad submission to His good will and a desire to please Him with our actions and reactions.