Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Couple of Things

First of all, I feel like a dip-wad. I didn't give Debi credit for the quiz on my last post. I found it on her blog.

Also, I feel like a dip because, when I go back and take the time to actually read what it said, it turns out I'm kind of bragging on myself. I don't like that. I don't actually believe that I'm all wise and spiritual and whatever else that first line said about me. Maybe spiritual in the sense of "concerned about spiritual matters" but not "I'm a Spiritual Giant and I've got it all figured out." Puh-lease.

Secondly, like Preston, I've been exposed to more Fenelon. I'd like your thoughts on this:

"Concerning our friend, I pray that God will give him a simplicity of trust that will bring him peace. When we are careful to instantly let go of all needless worries and restless thoughts (that is, self-centered thoughts, rather than loving, outgoing ones), then we shall find ourselves on plateaus of peace even in the midst of the straight and narrow. We shall find ourselves walking in the freedom and innocent peace of the children of God, not lacking wholesome relationships either toward God or man.

I willingly apply to myself the same advice that I give to others, for I am convinced that I must seek my own peace in the same direction. Even now my soul is suffering, but I am aware that it is the life of self which causes us pain; that which is dead does not suffer. If we were really dead, and our life hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), we would no longer struggle with those pains in spirit that now afflict us. So we must learn to bear all sufferings with composure, even those which come upon us through no fault of our own. But we must beware of that restlessness of spirit which might be
our own fault. We can add to our God-given cross by agitated resistance and an unwillingness to suffer. This is simply an evidence of the remaining life of self.

A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self. And when you accept your cross this way, even though it is painful, you will find that you can bear it in peace. But when you receive your cross unwillingly, you will find it to be doubly severe. The resistance within is harder to bear than the cross itself! But if you recognize the hand of God, and make no opposition to His Will, you will have peace in the midst of affliction. Happy indeed are they who can bear their suffering with this simple peace and perfect submission to the will of God! Nothing so shortens and soothes suffering as this spirit of non-resistance.

But usually we want to drive a bargain with God. We would at least like to suggest some limits so that we can see an end to our sufferings. We don't realize how we are thwarting the purposes of God when we take this attitude. Because the stubborn clinging to life which makes the cross necessary in the first place, also tends us to reject that cross -- at least in part. So we have to go over the same ground again and again.

We end up suffering greatly, but to very little purpose. May the Lord deliver us from falling into that state of soul in which crosses are of no benefit to us. God loves a cheerful giver, according to St. Paul in Second Corinthinas 9:7. Ah! What must be His love for those who, in cheerful and absolute abandonment, give themselves complelely to be crucified with Christ!"1

1 From Let Go, Letter 2: How to Bear Suffering Peacefully, Fenelon.


At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. I really appreciated your quotes. I've heard many lessons by Charles Stanley of Atlanta on suffering, and what I gleaned from them is this: Trying to hurry through adversities deprives us of the many lessons that are there to learn. I still find myself hurrying through pain instead of looking for the lessons. Your blog is second from the top of items I read each day. Thank you for your writing and sweet spirit.

At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your reference to Preston just takes me to a blank white screen. Do you know anything about that blogspot?

At 8:39 AM, Blogger DigiGirl said...

Why the self-dipwadification? The test was purely for entertainment purposes, don't sweat it. :)

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Debi said...

Hey Amanda! I figured you got it from my site when I saw it on yours, but wasn't at all bothered by your posting it too. Afterall, I got it from someone else. As one book title says, "Don't sweat the small stuff". ;-)

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

You know, Anon, I'm having problems getting to Preston's blog, too. Maybe if he sees this post he'll comment as to what's going on over there. I checked the address, and I think it's right.

Is anyone else that has his blog linked to theirs having problems??

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Preston said...

I think I got it fixed. Sorry about that. I remember reading this letter of Fenelon's a few weeks ago. Brilliant. Thanks for posting it.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Natalie Brooke said...

thank you for sharing this...i've never read any of F's work. I really did enjoy reading it. It is very insightful.

About the whole suffering thing and taking up our cross...submitting our lives...completley giving our lives to Christ. I've been thinking and praying and trying to do that. I mean..it means everything...from our walk, our talk...our thoughts, everything! And as a christian, I try daily to do that...some days are better than others. It takes a spirit of humility that I don't always have, you know. That "non-resistance" F. is talking about.

Just wanted to share something God has taught me through all my struggles, quote "suffering". I had actually thought about writing about this on my blog...i just might! Anyways, he's taught me to find His peace in the storm...whatever the storm may be. And also that there is always a blessing no matter how bad the situation. But it takes humility and that "non-resistance" to find it. A prideful sinner can't find it, ya know.
Just my thoughts...love ya girl!
natalie "the newlywed"!

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I thought this might be an appropriate place to share this email I got today....

by Max Lucado

What about your struggles? Is there any chance, any possibility,
that you have been selected to struggle for God's glory? Have you been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also
to suffer for Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29)?

Here is a clue. Do your prayers seem to be unanswered? What you request and what you receive aren't matching up? Don't think God is not listening. Indeed he is. He may have higher plans.

Here is another. Are people strengthened by your struggles? A
friend of mine can answer yes. His cancer was consuming more than his body; it was eating away at his faith. Unanswered petitions perplexed him. Well-meaning Christians confused him. “If you have faith,” they said, “you will be healed.”

No healing came. Just more chemo, nausea, and questions. He assumed he fault was a small faith. I suggested another answer. “It's not about you,” I told him. “Your hospital room is a showcase for your Maker. Your faith in the face of suffering cranks up the volume of God's song.”

Oh, that you could have seen the relief on his face. To know that he hadn't failed God and God hadn't failed him-this made all the
difference. Seeing his sickness in the scope of God's sovereign plan gave his condition a sense of dignity. He accepted his cancer as an assignment from heaven: a missionary to the cancer ward.

A week later I saw him again. “I reflected God,” he said, smiling
through a thin face, “to the nurse, the doctors, my friends. Who
knows who needed to see God, but I did my best to make him seen.”

Bingo. His cancer paraded the power of Jesus down the Main Street of his world.

God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and
stars. History and nations. People and problems.

Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God.

Through your problems and mine, may God be seen.


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