As a man of the 20th century, a Post-War baby boomer, and one who is passionate about completing the great work that Jesus left his followers to complete, I feel like I live in two worlds.
On the one hand, I recognize the need for suffering and persecution as the price tag that goes with the advance of the Gospel. I cut my teeth as a teen and young Christian reading the biographies of Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, William Carey, and Jim Elliot and the writings of Amy Carmichael. A fire was lit in me to be fully devoted to completion of the Great Commission, regardless of the cost.
But on the other hand, I am torn by my desire to be comfortable, safe, healthy, and live to a ripe old age.
It is in this schizophrenic mental angst that I find myself return constantly to the writings of Amy Carmichael –
O Prince of Glory, who dost bring
Thy sons to glory through the Cross
Let us not shrink from suffering
Reproach or loss.
From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.
From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakening,
Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified.
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
…and Jim Elliot –
“God, I pray light up these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee. Consume my life, My God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life but a full one like yours, Lord Jesus.”
“Father, take my life, yes, my blood, if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire, I would not save it, for it is not mine to save…Pour out my life as an oblation for the world. Blood is only of value as it flows before thine altars.”
…and finally Elisabeth Elliot –
“To be a follower of the Crucified Christ means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss. The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact. It is not by any means an easy thing to recognize, within a given instance of personal loss, the opportunity it affords for participation in Christ’s own loss.”
These quotes are my prayer today for myself and for the Church. – Dave Shive