Sunday, 4 November 2012

These Strange Ashes

“From this one place I can’t see very far; in this one moment I’m square in the dark. These are the things I will trust in my heart: You can see something else, something else.” (Sara Groves)
But these strange ashes, Lord, this nothingness,
This baffling sense of loss?
Son, was the anguish of my stripping less
Upon the torturing cross?
Was I not brought into the dust of death,
A worm and no man, I;
Yea, turned to ashes by the vehement breath
Of fire, on Calvary?
O Son beloved, this is thy heart’s desire:
This, and no other thing
Follows the fall of Consuming Fire
On the burnt offering.
Go on and taste the joy set high, afar -
No joy like that to thee;
See how it lights the way like some great star.
Come now, and follow Me.
(Amy Carmichael)
“Had I come here, leaving so much behind, on a fool’s errand? If this was how the Lord of Hosts looked after His servants and His glory, if this was a sample of how He answered prayer for His work and His workers, it certainly fit none of my categories…. As I look back on that time, I think it was Lesson One for me in the school of faith. That is, it was my first experience of having to bow down before that which I could not possibly explain…. Faith’s most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain. If God were God, if He were omnipotent, if He had cared, would this have happened? ...Over forty years have passed since this story took place. Nearly every time I have told it and tried to explain what I think God wanted to teach me in it of absolute commitment and trust, someone has asked, ‘but why did God let it happen?’ Someday they and I will be satisfied with His answer. Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.’”  (from These Strange Ashes, by Elisabeth Elliot)
I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. (Galatians 2:20)
"These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God, and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ - "For My sake." It is that which makes the iron saint.
Has that break come? All the rest is pious fraud. The one point to decide is - Will I give up, will I surrender to Jesus Christ, and make no conditions whatever as to how the break comes? I must be broken from my self-realization, and immediately that point is reached, the reality of the supernatural identification takes place at once, and the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable - 'I have been crucified with Christ.'" (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
"On July 28, Saturday, I sailed. We had to come on board on Friday night, and just as the tender (a small boat) where were the dear friends who had come to say goodbye was moving off, and the chill of loneliness shivered through me, like a warm love-clasp came the long-loved lines--'And only Heaven is better than to walk with Christ at midnight, over moonless seas.' I couldn't feel frightened then. Praise Him for the moonless seas--all the better the opportunity for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, 'the God who is Enough.'" (Amy Carmichael)
What is there to say? The One who loves my soul has brought me here, right here...

God, give me the strength and the faith, since I have the will, to break this "husk of my individual independence" of You. I will trust You. I will seek the friendship and the fellowship of your Christ. Before him, there is no waste, no second best.

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