Monday, March 19, 2007

The glorious difficulty of walking with God

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:20-21

One step at a time

Amy Carmichael

I believe that, in guiding us, God deals with us as He dealt with the Israelites as He led them out of the Egypt.

The first crossing of the sea was made very easy. The guidance could not have been simpler. The east wind blew and divided the sea before the people had to cross. Not so much as a foot was wet, except perhaps by a wind-driven spray. Moreover, it was impossible, as it were, to disobey, since they were pursued by Pharaoh’s chariots and horsemen [Exodus 14].

But how different it was on second occasion!

The priests had to walk into the strong current of a flooded river and stand still there. What an order to scoff at, and what it sight it would pose to other men! But it was not until they obeyed – without a particle of visible proof that they were doing right – and carried the ark right into the river, that the water rolled back before them [Joshua 3].

So it may be for us, as we go on with God.

You and I may be called again and again to walk right into our own ‘rivers,’ whatever they may be – to wet our feet in them. We may be called to do what nobody understands except those to whom the word of guidance is given – and with it, His promise too.

But understand this: The word must come first, and also His promise. You and I must be sure of what we are called to do, and with an inward conviction that absolutely nothing can shake. In my own case, again and again, I have had to wet my feet in the water… Only God and those who have to walk in that path know how hard this kind of faith-life can be. But He does know. And when the people around us don’t hear the words and voice we have heard, and only say, “It thunders…,” then He comes near and we know Him as we never knew Him before…

If only the next step is clear, then the one thing to do is take it! Don’t pledge your Lord or yourself to any steps beyond what you know. You don’t see them yet.

Once when I was climbing at night, in a forest before there was a made path, I learned what was meant by the words of Psalm 119:105:
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.

I had only a lantern, and I had to hold it very low or I would certainly have slipped on those rough rocks.

We don’t walk spiritually by electric light, but by a hand-held lantern. And a lantern shows only the next step – not several steps ahead.


My Father, there are so many paths I could walk – so many ways to choose. And there are certain decisions I must make that lead me around and around, until my heart is in confusion.

Today, I will fix my heart on this truth:

When I feel confused, there will always come a light, held low so that my feet won’t stumble – a sure light that will shine on each step of my path.

Thank you, Father, that you will speak the counsels of your word to me.


Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark, pp. 41-43.


Jordyne said...

phew...thanks for that loy.

Loy said...

thanks, Jordyne! glad it helped you... Amy Carmichael is so neat! :-)

Liz said...

You refer to Amy Carmichael a lot. I have recently been running into her quotes and have been able to share them with a few friends, she was quite the astounding woman! And she was in India :) Anyways... she has written many books. I wanted to get a few and was wondering if there were any that you would recommend. Thanks Loy! God Bless!

Jordyne said...

Thanks for your post on my blog. You are an amazing writer and your insight is devine. Your posts are such an encouragement and speak from the heart of God. It's funny how God uses blog's to speak to people.

Loy said...

Hi Liz!

re: Amy Carmichael and her books, I have a handful that she wrote and also several that are compilations that she wrote. There are very few writers that I would say, "Buy everything s/he wrote," but Amy is one of those persons. Just be careful b/c there are a lot of books about Amy that she didn't write.

Basically, if you buy a book written by Amy, you'll always get good worth from it! But if you asked me my favorite book by her, I'd say it is "His thoughts said, His Father said."

This little book is Amy's inner spiritual life, written as if it isn't her but rather a man. Amy wrote with a very humble spirit and tried to disguise her inner heights, often using masculine language even [kinda like Kierkegaard writing under pseudonym, hers is a spiritual pseudonym, as if she is writing about someone else]. But these are her thoughts, straight from her spiritual life! Her dialogue with her heavenly Father.

I publish a lot of these on my blog as "Thoughts between daughter and Father" and change them back to reflect the journey of a dear daughter of God -- for me there's more spiritual honesty [writing as a man, to let this be the true voice of Amy, and recounting between daughther and Father...].

As to her being an amazing woman: my goodness, yes! She is someone that never ceases to humble me and inspire me at the same time.

And Jordyne: thank you! Your words are very encouraging... and never fear, all your trials will turn to gold in the heart of God! You already have the gift of lifting others... maybe you can't always see it, but it's there! :-)

Have a great night and ttyl,