Sunday, November 04, 2007

Elisabeth Elliot, III

As I struggle with dealing with what's going on in my life, I find that my faith in God is being tested each and every day. It is hard to trust God in the face of losing the one thing you desired above all else in life--in the face of losing something that you believed with all your heart would have been the greatest possible gift God could ever bring into your life. But that is what I am obviously being tested in each day. I am trying more and more each day to trust in Him, with mixed success.

The chapter I read tonight in Elisabeth Elliot's book speaks more eloquently than I ever could about trusting God. These are the words I need to hear right now:

Each time the mystery of suffering touches us personally and all the cosmic questions arise afresh in our minds we face the choice between faith (which accepts) and unbelief (which refuses to accept). There is only one faculty by which we may lay hold of this mystery. It is the faculty of faith, and "faith is the fulcrum of moral and spiritual balance."

I write as one who has desperately needed a refuge. The bottom has dropped out of my world, as it were, more than once. What, exactly, was going on? Where was I to turn? To God? Is He God or is He not? Does He love me or does He not? Am I adrift in chaos or is the word true that tells me I am an individual created, called, loved, and purposefully placed in a cosmos, an ordered universe, a universe designed, created and completely under the control of a loving God and Father?

It helps me, at such a time of bewilderment and sorrow, to go to some of the simplest words, such as I am the good shepherd. My Lord chose that description of Himself, and He does not change. He was and is and always will be my shepherd. The word fits my need, for I am a sheep, helpless and bleating. He cannot forget one for whom He lays down His life. I bank everything on that.

"Shall there be a mutiny among the flocks and herds, because their lord or their shepherd chooses their pastures, and suffers them not to wander into deserts and unknown ways?" wrote Jeremy Taylor. I choose to believe, to surrender, to trust, and to accept. That much I can do. God then does what I can't do--"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Is 59:19).

I am not happy with the pasture that I find myself in right now--shall I mutiny? Shall I rebel? Shall I protest that God didn't do for me what I wanted and expected Him to do? Do I believe that He laid out plans for me from before the foundation of the world? Can I trust Him that He has a woman and soul mate in store for me? Do I really believe it when God says that He knows the plans He has for me? And can I allow myself to trust that His will for me, that His plans for me will provide me with greater joy than if I was in charge? And even harder yet: can I trust Him so completely to risk the possibility that I will never marry, all the while saying to Him, "Thy Will Be Done?" Hard stuff, this.

He cannot forget one for whom He lays down His life. I bank everything on that!

We are Christ to each other--right now, Elisabeth Elliot is speaking the words of Christ that I need to hear most desperately. I can't recommend the book enough.


ali said...

Dan, i didn't realize that you had a blog. i happened across it yesterday. I think i read just about every entry (yes, hours of reading) I was so sad to hear about your recent breakup. the entry with the photo of meg really hurt. I'm sorry that this is happening to you. honestly, you are one of the sweetest guys brett and i have ever met.

have you ever meditated on the 7 sorrows of mary? a priest once assigned it to me. ...not to get all catholic or anything, but for me, in a time of complete loss & loneliness the life of the blessed mother comforts me. The sorrows that she held in her heart were so deep. She kept her eyes on God through it all. She persevered in her trust in his plan.
i'll be offering you up at mass this morning, and know that my prayers will be with you throughout the week.

Dan said...


Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, and thanks for reading my blog. I'll take any suggestions I can get! And as far as "getting all Catholic" goes, with a brother who's a priest, I'm definitely open to pretty much anything the Church, Catholic or otherwise, has to offer. :-) I'm going to do a little googling about the 7 sorrows of Mary.

Thanks for offering mass on my behalf--that means a lot to me, and I take great encouragement from that. And if you're praying for me, pray for Meg, will you?

Sherry C said...

Right there with you, brother, banking everything.