Sunday mornings can be a real test of a mother's sanctification, especially if her husband happens to be a pastor who leaves the house much earlier than the rest of the family. Here's how it went recently in one house (you're free to speculate on whose):
"The fifteen-year-old couldn't tuck his shirt in because of `something to do with the pockets,' and his belt was too small.
"The thirteen-year-old was having trouble curling her hair.
"The ten-year-old couldn't find her Sunday School lesson.
"The eight-year-old hadn't done his Bible readings because he didn't know which they were.
"The six-year-old's room and closet were unacceptably messy, and the socks she had on were muddy.
"The three-year-old couldn't find her Bible. Although not yet a reader, she couldn't
think of going to church without the Bible.
"The baby's carrying blanket had disappeared."
Somehow the mother was to be nicely groomed, calm, and able to get this whole package into a van, seated and belted as law requires, and drive them to church on time.
But everything in this scene is the King's Business, which He looks on in loving sympathy and understanding, for, as Baron Von Hugel said, "The chain of cause and effect which makes up human life, is bisected at every point by a vertical line relating us and all we do to God." This is what He has given us to do, this task here on this earth, not the task we aspired to do, but this one. The absurdities involved cut us down to size. The great discrepancy between what we envisioned and what we've got force us to be real. And God is our great Reality, more real than the realest of earthly conditions, an unchanging Reality. It is His providence that has put us where we are. It's where we belong. It is for us to receive it--all of it--humbly,
Sunday morning, the Lord's Day, can be the very time when everything seems so utterly unrelated to the world of the spirit that it is simply ridiculous. Yet to the Lord's lovers it is only a seeming. Everything is an affair of the spirit. Everything, to one who loves God and longs with a sometimes desperate longing for a draught of Living Water, a single touch of His hand, a quiet word--everything, I say, can be seen in His perspective.
Does He watch? Yes, "Thou God seest me" (Genesis 16:3, KJV). Is His love surrounding us? "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3, KJV). "I will never leave thee or forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5, KJV). May I offer to Him my feeling of the dislocation between reality and my ideals, that great chasm which separates the person I long to be, the work I long to do for Him, the family I struggle to perfect for His glory--from the actuality? I may indeed, for it is God Himself who stirs my heart to desire, and He can easily see across the chasm. He enfolds all of it, He is at work in me and in those I pray for, "to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13, KJV). I may take heart, send up an instant look of gratitude, and--well, get that beloved flock into the van and head down the freeway singing!
Sir Thomas Browne wrote, "Man is incurably amphibious; he belongs to two
worlds--to two sets of duties, needs, and satisfactions--to the Visible or This
World, and to the Invisible or Other World" (Essays and Addresses, 2nd series).
I'm so glad there's an Elizabeth Elliot. I tell ya, sometimes I think God gave her the words to speak because He new I couldn't and yet I need so badly for someone to speak what the Spirit is teaching me. He truly is doing this work in me. I find Him often pointing out that my disappointment and disatisfaction is not because my life is not what I thought it should be or would be by now, but because I have not fully surrendered myself to His soveriegnty in what my life is RIGHT NOW! He knows the desires of my heart... I must leave them with Him. But He is in control of what is before me today, so I can be His diswasher today, or His bend-down-to-tie-that-shoe-15-times person today, or the one looking for that misplaced inhaler for the third time today. I can be His meal-planner today, and His training children in manners and hygiene person today. Whatever He sets before me today, if I surrender myself fully to it for His glory, I will be fully satisfied, because I'll simply be serving Him. I'll have a heart like David, who, though he knew his annointing was as king he said, "A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked." (Psalm 84:10)
I'd rather be a floor washer, and dish doer, a bum wiper, and bath drawer, a meal server, and husband helper, a child trainer and comforter, and a dog-poop picker upper, for one day in the courts of my God than live the good life in the home of the wicked.
Redeeming the time