"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." (from Heb 12)
I've recently discovered I. Lilias Trotter, a godly example of a woman after God's heart who served as a missionary to Algeria, North Africa. God gifted her as an artist, in the ability to craft words, and with a heart desiring to love and minister to people. The following is from her book, Parables from the Cross:
Death to Lawful Things is the Way Out into a Life of Surrender
"Look at this buttercup as it begins to learn its new lesson. The little hands of the calyx clasp tightly in the bud, round the beautiful petals; in the young flower their grasp grows more elastic-loosening somewhat in the daytime, but keeping the power of contracting, able to close in again during a rainstorm, or when night comes on. But see the central flower, which has reached its maturity. The calyx hands have unclasped utterly now - they have folded themselves back, past all power of closing again upon the petals, leaving the golden crown free to float away when God's time comes.Have we learned the buttercup's lesson yet? Are our hands off the very blossom of our life? Are all things -- even the treasures that He has sanctified -- held loosely, ready to be parted with, without struggle, when He asks for them?It is not in the partial relaxing of grasp, with power to take back again, that this fresh victory of death is won: it is won when that very power of taking back is yeilded; when our hands, like the little calyx hands of God's buttercups, are not only taken off, but folded behind our back in utter abandonment. Death means a loosened grasp -- loosened beyone all power of grasping again.And it is no strange thing that happens to us, if God takes us at our word, and strips us for a while of all that made life beautiful. It may be outward things -- bodily comfort, leisure, culture, repuation, friendships -- that have to drift away as our hands refuse to clasp on anything but God's will for us. Or it may be on our inner life that the stripping falls, and we have to leave the sunny lands of spiritual enjoyment for one after another of temptations's battlefields, where every inch of our foothold has to be tested, where even, it may seem to give way -- till no experience, no resting-place remains to us in haven or earth but God Himself -- till we are "wrecked upon God."Have faith, like the flowers, to let the old things go. Earn His beatitude, His "Blessed is he, whoseoever shall not be offended in Me" - "the beatitude of the trusting," as it has been called -- even when you have to earn it like John the Baptist in an hour of desolation. You have told Him that you want Him only. Are you ready to ratify the words when His emptying begins to come? Is God enough? Is it still "My God" that you cry, even as Jesus cried when nothing else was left Him?Yes, practical death with Him to lawful things is just letting go, even as He on the Cross let go all but God It is not to be reached by struggling for it, but simply by yielding as the body yields at last to the physical death that lays hold on it -- as the dying calyx yields to its flower. Only to no iron law with its merciless grasp do we let ourselves go, but into the hands of the Father: it is there that our spirit falls, as we are made conformable unto the death of Jesus....For here again death is the gate of life: it is an entering in, not a going forth only; it means a liberating of new powers as the former treasures float away like the dying petals..."
One of my plans over the Christmas holiday is to read her biography...
and to find out more about this very interesting and gifted lady!