What we may think as great suffering actually is not so great. We sometimes tend to pity ourselves so much until we forget that even the Very Important Person, Jesus Christ, suffered both physically and mentally. It shows that suffering does not mean that God does not love us. For Paul has testified, “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, not anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God is of a different nature altogether. He will not necessarily protect us –not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.
Elisabeth was convinced that her “suffering” during the waiting years cannot separate her from the love of God. She wrote that it is no use to try to measure suffering. What matters is making the right use of it, taking advantage of the sense of helplessness it brings to turn one’s thoughts to God. Trust is the lesson. Jesus loves me, not because He does what I’d like, but because the Bible tells me so. Calvary proves it. He loved me and gave Himself for me.
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me to feel that Thou art always high;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” Acceptance of whatever that means is the great victory that overcomes the world. When we love someone, we will do anything that we may don’t like in order to please him. So it does when it comes to love for God. Can’t we say yes even if it means asacrifice? But every sacrifice will utimately leads in the end to joyJ
A wise father will never spoil his child. As an earthly father who let her three years old daughter struggles in wearing on her dress alone, so does our Heavenly Father who let us struggle in process of growth. “After you have suffered a while, he himself will mend that which was broken” (1 Peter 5:10). If all struggles and sufferings were eliminated, the spirit would no more reach maturity. The Heavenly Father simply wants us to grow up J
John Buchan put it this way: “You have chosen the roughest road, but it goes straight to the hilltops.” Yet in her deepest agony in waiting she prayed, “Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long.” The Lord was answering, “I must teach you to long for something better.” God knew that giving her Jim when she wanted him would not provide the far more important training she needed for things to come. She was taught and brought to the point where she cannot merely ordinary daily bread to live, but a manna, the supernatural, the Living Word of God.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.
“Take this lesson to the heart: that the Lord your God was disciplining you as a father disciplines his son ...For the Lord your God is bringing you to a rich land, a land ofstreams, of springs, and underground water gushing out in hill and valley ... It is a land where you will never live in poverty nor want for anything.”
She imagined that being Jim’s wife was her rich land. There, surely, she thought that even they lived in a tent, they would never live in poverty or want for anything. Yet she still had much to learn. There she prayed, “You know the inmost workings of my mind and heart. Keep the level of my love in Christ –never lower. You have said, “Neither are my ways your ways.” Help me to walk in Thine, Lord, in peace.” This was about learning the Calvary love –forgetfulness of self in order to be strong to serve.
For my loneliness, Lord –Your strength
For my temptation to self-pity, Lord –Your strength
For my uncontrollable longings for this man, Lord – Your strength
God’s grace is sufficient for us. For only by our weaknesses,
His power is being revealed the strongest.
September 1948. Jim felt God had given the liberty to start a corespondence. “But if a man is steadfast in his purpose, being under no compulsion, and has complete control of his own choice; and if he decided in his own mind to preserve his partner in her virginity, he will do well.” (1 Corinthians 7:37) If marriage was not to be for theirs, they would find that Christ was going to have to suffice. If He was going to give them marriage also, then they would receive it as His gift. The thing about gifts is that they are not asked for, but given, freely and out of love. It seemed too good a thing to hope for, but they hoped.
“The hardest thing in the world is to keep balanced” –L.E. Maxwell. And that is true. Romance in itself is good. Yet can we keep love to God as our true priority without being distracted with humanly romance? That is the question. And to those who arewilling to be his faithful servant and love Him with all of their hearts will find this as a dilema to be faced. Sometimes to be crucified.
We cannot deny that when man and woman who romantically attracted to one another has that ‘desire’. A question of chastity. Generally, it is defined as abstention from sexual activity. Yet when we ask plainly where to draw the line it will always come to failure. Chastity means more than that. Chastity meant for us not taking lightly any least act or thought that was not appropriate to the kind of commitment had to God. All that is perfectly human and perfectly natural in us must first be offered. The body must be a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God. This is the will of God, that you should be holy. The proper question to be asked now should be, “How far are we willing to honor God?” Some people may asked, “How in the world can you tell if you want to marry somebody if you’ve never kissed them?” But Elisabeth replied, “But how in the world can you tell you want to marry somebody just because you’ve kissed them?” Intimacy is not necessary.
She wanted to marry a man prepared to swim against the tide, both internally and externally. If a man is still struggling with his desires within, he may not well-prepared also to face the struggles outside his body. Elisabeth took her time to observe Jim a lot. She watched him in the dining-hall lines, with his little packs of Scripture cards (a man who was careful with his time), she watched his friendliness and enthusiasm, watched himlead the Foreign Missions Fellowship, heard him pray. She noticed his clothes which he spent very little on them. It gave her a hint that his primary concern was not clothes. She took it for granted that there must be a few men left in the world who has that kind of strength. She assumed that those men would also be looking for women of principle. Never say “too hard” for everything that this people calls hard; neither dread nor fear that which they fear. It is the Lord of Hosts whom you must count “hard”, he is whom you must fear and dread.
Our intimacy is our act of worship in marriage. Being developed in wrong seasons, it will only create a disaster. Never play with the fire if you do not want to get burned. If your goal is purity of the heart, be prepared to be thought very odd. The whole theme of this love story is not about spoiling each other in romanticsm. It is indeed about protecting the love for God and the purity of hearts with a cost of denying to what seems natural and normal to the world. The reward? Youcan tell J
The principle of love that constrained Jim and Elisabeth to tread so tightly was knowing they belonged first to Christ, wanting Him to claim their heart’s affections before all others. Measure your progress by your experience of the love of God and its exercise before men. They restrain their desire not because of obligation or forced obedience, yet because of voluntary service out of gratitude to God who has frees them from all of the bondage of sins.
A man’s love for a woman ought to hold her to the highest. Her love for him ought to do the same. Elisabeth did not want to turn Jim aside from the call of God, to distract his energies, or in any way to stand between him and a continually surrender. This what she understood real love to mean. And love means following the commands of God. He leads His dear childen along different pathways, differrent story. But He asks the same brand of commitment of all of them: give up self, take up the cross, follow.
This story is not a beautiful and perfect fairy tale. During Jim’ senior year in college. He dated. He kissed. To other women. He admitted it to Elisabeth in one of his letters with full of sorrow and regret. How did Elisabeth react to it? She was dissapointed. But hadn’t she dissaponted him many times too? She thought Jim was a man, and men are sinners. There is none of man who walk on this earth are sinless. So did he. If we confess our sins, he is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wring; but if we say we have committed no sin, we make him out of a liar. Jesus Christ ... is the remedy for the defilement of our sins. This ‘accidents’ created some sorts of distance between them though. Time passed by (fyi, their total waiting was approximately 5 years!)
There is a beauty behind a mystery. There is a thrill when you don’t peep inside a gift until Christmas time, moreover open it. There is a full satisfaction when you don’t read the end of the book before you read it from the beginning. There is pleasure in doing things in order. There will be no boredom in your honeymoon, simply because all are new experiences. If you have given all before marriage, you have nothing to give after marriage. Certain things properly belong to intimate love which do not properly belong to friendship’s love. Certain things belong to marriage that do not belong to courtship. If virginity is to be preserved, line must be drawn. Why put yourself in any situation where the lines become smuched and obscure? Why take the risks? Why accept the pressure of tremendous temptation when you can easily avoid it by refusing to be anywhere where compromise is possible? There’s one story in which a dad forbad his son to go out alone in a car with a girl. “What’s wrong, Dad? Don’t you trust me?” His dad answered plainly, “In a car –alone at night with a girl? I wouldn’t trust me. Why should I trust you?” (How wise!) #a reflection
Nothing was harder for a woman in love to endure and nothing was stonger proof of the character of the man than his restaint of power. Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?
Still as the faithful mountains stand
Through the long silent years of stress,
So would we wait at Thy right hand,
In quietness and steadfastness.
But not of us this strength, O Lord,
And not of us this constancy;
Our trust is thine Eternal Word,
Thy presence our security.
On some occasions, Jim and Elisabeth met and spend time together in meetings, visiting home, gospel seminar, and they kept writing each other. He loved her more than ever before. Until one time, he telephoned her from San Pedro, California (fyi, that was their first time they had ever spoken by long-distance telephone :p) Ordinary folks didn’t do much of that in those days. He asked, “Do you love me?” She had not meant to tell him , but she had to be truthful. “I can hardly help myself,” was her answer. They started to see that their separation was their final test. Jim was glad that he had honored her purity with their relationship.
There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. As the seed falls into the ground, dies as the new shoot springs up. There must be a splitting and a breaking in order for a bud to form. The bud “lets go” when the flower forms. At the precise point where we refuse to let go, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver meants it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul.
When God gives you something, never say, “It’s mine. I can do what I want with it.” No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of –if we want to find our true selves, if we want real Life, if our hearts are set on glory. God’s intention for us is to grow into the fullness of Christ. Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure, many letting goes. The more we perceive God’s purpose in our lives, the less terrible will the losses seem. If any man will lethimself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self. When will we find it? Trust Me. How will we find it? Trust Me. Why must I let myself be lost? Trust Me.
This is our God –we have waited for Him. During that waiting period, lots of love letters had been sent. You can never feel more romantic when you read those letters filled with such a pure and delicate love J They had a few mission trips together. Finally, Jim had waited nearly five years for this. He took it slowly that evening, biding his time They looked at the fire in a jungle, sat in silence. In the fullness of time, he asked her to marry him. Then –a first kiss. A ring on her finger. They were married in Quito on October 8,1953. The given verse to them that day was Isaiah 25:9, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him.” It was unspeakably worth the wait.
A book about passion and purity ought not to end with the wedding day, for as passion does not end then, neither does purity. While purity before marriage consists in holding ourselves from one another in obedience to God, purity after marriage consists in giving ourselves to and for each other in obedience to God. Passion, must be held by principle of love. Not erotic or sentimental or sexual feeling, but love. It is the way of charity.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “Being in love is a good thing, but it is ot the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but still a feeling. No feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. In fact, the state of being in love usually do not last. But of course ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love ... is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit, reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.” The kind of love that sustains a marriage is God-given, but it is also a daily choice. For the rest of your life. Never forget that.
A quieter love, but a long-lasting one, indeed, an eternal one. It means kindness and respect. When we’re being in love, we found no fault in him or her. Solomon said to his beloved,”Behold, thou art fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” When we find flaws in our spouse after marriage, try to remember that first vision when you’re being in love. Thank God for it, and treat him or her with respect die one who will someday manifest most gloriously the image of God.
Charity is the love of God. There is no other way to control passion. There is no other route to purity. There is no other route, finally, to joy.
Dear Jabrik, let us persevere all the more during this season, be joyful and thankful, and trusting God with no seed of doubt. There were some things that we did not do it rightly, may this story inspires us to do it right next time :) Let us pursue purity and God together. Growing may cost ourselves. It crucifies us to the point He truly lives. May your life keeps being blessing to others. Be joyful. I'm cheering you on! ^^ Go to MNC, share with your friends faithfully about the goodness of God, build intimate talk with family, and know that you are never alone :) I thank for the love you've given to me, the daily writing you consistently do for me. Really appreciate it so much #hugs. Stop worrying, start believing, keep growing! "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another"