The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
I don’t even want to right anything about that. I mean, that quote is worth a post of its own merit.
We all wish that we could beat ourselves on the head with Elisabeth Elliot and eventually we would be perfectly convinced, perfectly surrendered to God’s will: and then we would be immune to every difficult emotion that could conceivably be presented us.
If you look at her relationship with Jim, you find a lot of things that we should seek to emulate: the chief of these is that they both strove to be fully surrendered to the will of Christ. The smallest consideration of such a thing, if we are honest, ought to cause us to hang our heads in shame. Our greatest aim in so many of our relationships is happiness: such a concept as happiness should perhaps have a little less gravity on our affections. After all, we’ve only this whiff of wind to enjoy any earthly happiness we can cultivate in things below. Our chief prize ought to be of Christ Himself, and the beautiful, delightful, and God-given other blessing must find themselves in a lower place.
BUT, in all the good things we find in Jim and Elisabeth Elliot’s relationship, the one thing for which we are looking that we don’t see is ease. Because the only place where we are safe from the risk and dangers of love, outside of Heaven is Hell.
God never told us it would be easy. How can we really learn to love, not just others, but supremely Him, if all we have in which to grow is ease? Soldiers who go out seeking ease have already surrendered in their hearts; love that only desires ease becomes selfish inclination. God has given us to thirst that we may be quenched in the Living Waters: we are hungry that we may be satisfied in the Bread of Life: we are made to feel weakness that we may draw glorious strength from His Joy.
Who are we to ask for ease?
How light do we think the Cross really was?
How soothing do we think the Wrath of God was when it fell on Christ’s soul?
Doubtless there are circumstances in which we make things much harder on ourselves than they need be. We make stupid choices on how to use our time, thoughts, emotions, those three seats of practical godliness or ungodliness, that lead to unnecessary inward struggle. But we must struggle, if Christ would have it all.
If we want to be Lovers, or lovers (lowercase l) we out ourselves at risk. But we have our reward, if we are faithful. Otherwise, we can sit at home and suck our thumbs like spoiled two year-olds because life is just to hard.
ΠΡΟΣ ΚΟΡΙΝΘΙΟΥΣ Α 13