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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Philip James Elliot's challenge to us

Though I didn’t know my dad, I’m overwhelmed at times by what he wrote, what he stood for, and what he did!  

I think of these verses when I think of him, because he truly and completely wanted to do God’s will above all else.

I John 2:15-17--.  “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life - is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

He followed God wholeheartedly, like Caleb, and he did not let his second love, which was my mother, sway him, even though he struggled with the temptation to do that. He believed in the motto that used to be the Coast Guard’s: “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back!”
He wanted with all his heart to glorify Him in his life and his death.  My favorite quote of his is --“I have covenanted with the Father, that He would either glorify Himself to the utmost in me, or slay me.”

He had a love of adventure and daring and lived out his own motto: “Wherever you are, be ALL THERE, in every situation you find yourself, life life to the hilt!” He did not fear what men could do to him, and he especially was disgusted with American Christians and their apathy.  He said “most Americans don’t need a call, they need a kick in the pants!”
So...God called him and 4 other dedicated missionaries to bring the Gospel to the unreached.  They sang with their wives, the beautiful hymn, right before getting in the plane to fly to Palm Beach.

“We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
‘we rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go,’ (repeat)

Yea, ‘in Thy Name,’ O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure foundation, Our Prince of Glory and our King of love….(repeat)
We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know;
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing;
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”(repeat)
God’s ways are not our ways- His ways are higher, and tho’ mysterious, He knows what is Best for us.
He wrote in his journal about his father’s preaching: “Dad’s talks shame me to silence.
I know nothing of the Word, little of God’s ways, when I think of how far he has gone into the secret riches of the Father’s purposes in Christ. O Lord, let me learn tenderness and silence in my spirit, fruits of Thy knowledge.  Burden, burn, break me, Lord.”  And I think of my own weakness in focusing on meditation of His Word and my lukewarmness, at times, and I am also shamed to silence!

He wrote this poem shortly after that journal entry.
“O God, that goadest me with hunger-pricks for Thee within,
By stealing from my heart its dearest stays,
And staying me with tendrils of Thy love--
A token of friendship from a dear one in Thee,
A word of Holy Writ, a song,
A thousand things of spider-thong
Which lift my heart from seen things, sturdy, strong,
And rest me, relaxed, hung from an unseen stay above--
Wise-goading God, teach me to rest in love.”

That kind of mind which can write a poem, deep and beautiful in meaning, astounds me!
He found his complete joy and satisfaction in Christ alone- and that singleness of purpose and devoted heart also amaze me.

He prayed, “Father, let me not be dissipated on non-essentials...sublimate these huge hungers to the obedience of Christ. Above all these things, I would have holinesss- tho- I covet the power of holiness just now.  Let me not err in feeling.  Teach me the path of faith.

May we, who follow in the train of disciples, be that kind of disciple, so longing to know Him, that everything else pales in comparison, that nothing sways us from pursuing hard after God, that we give room (time and space) in our lives to seek His face alone, as Jesus did in the wilderness.  My father said,
“Be on guard, my soul, of complicating your environment, so that you have neither time nor room for growth.”  
May we discipline ourselves diligently to sit at Christ’s feet, and learn of Him.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Valerie, your father lit a torch with his and his compatriots' s sacrifice, but also in his fiery poems above. Your mother carried His flame of truth throughout her whole life, faithfully and single-mindedy. Christ called them both and has anointed you with the compounded conflagration of their flame conjoined in you. I hear the echoes of both, and your own original call in your words, calling us to that fearless following, calling us to that Atonement Seat which is Christ Himself. Thanks!


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