Finding Peace in Surrender and Faith

I was reading an old book this morning, published in 1950. My friend Sherry mailed it to me several years ago along with several other Old Path books of spiritual richness. I want to share these paragraphs with you today.

“In my early life I entered into a partnership with a friend in the wholesale ice businessAs time passed on we met with disappointments. For two seasons in succession our ice was swept away by winter freshets. Things had come to a serious pass. It seemed very necessary that we should have ice in the winter of which I now speak. The weather became very cold. The ice formed and grew thicker and thicker, until it was fit to gather. I remember the joy that came into our hearts one afternoon when there came an order for thousands of tons of ice which would lift us entirely out from our financial stress. Not long before God had let me see the truth of committal. He showed me that it was His will that I should commit my business to Him and trust Him with it absolutely. As best I knew how I had done so. I never dreamed what testing was coming.

And so I lay down that Saturday night in quietness. But, at midnight there came an ominous sound – that of rain. By morning it was pouring in torrents. I looked out upon the river from my home upon the village hillside. Yellow streaks of water were creeping over the ice. I knew what that meant. The water was at flood stage. That condition had swept away our ice twice before. By noon the storm was raging in all its violence. By afternoon I had come into a great spiritual crisis in my life.

That might seem strange – to come into a spiritual crisis over a seemingly trivial matter. But I have learned this: a matter may be seemingly trivial, but the crisis that turns upon a small matter may be a profound and far-reaching one in our lives. And so it was with me. For by mid-afternoon that day I had come face to face with the tremendous fact that down deep in my heart was a spirit of rebellion against God. And that rebelliousness seemed to develop in a suggestion to my heart like this:

“You gave all to God. You say you are going to trust God with your business. This the way He requites you. Your business will be swept away, and tomorrow you will come into a place of desperate financial stress.” And I found my heart growing bitter at the thought that God should take away my business when I wanted it only for legitimate purposes.

Then another voice seemed to speak: “My child, did you mean it when you said you would trust Me? Can you not trust Me in the dark as well as in the light? Would I do anything, or suffer anything to come into your life which will not work out good for you?” And then came that other voice: “But it is hard. Why should not God spare your ice? Why should He take your business when it is clean and honest and you want to use it aright?” It was a very plausible sort of voice, and for the moment I did not detect the serpent hiss that was in it – in that word, “Why.”

Still back and forth with ever-increasing intensity, waged one of the greatest spiritual battles of my life. At the end of two hours, by the grace of God, I was able to cry out, “Take the business; take the ice; take everything; only give me the supreme blessing of an absolutely submitted will to Thee.” And then came peace.

The storm was still beating upon the earth and upon my ice. But it did not seem to make any difference whether it rained or ceased. Then and there I discovered that the secret of anxious care is not in surroundings, but in the failure of allowing life and will to be wholly given up to Him amid all circumstances and surroundings.

That night I lay down to rest in perfect peace, but with the rain pouring torrents upon my field of ice, and with every prospect that my business would lie in wreck the next morning. But it did not. By midnight there came another sound that of wind. By morning the bitterest blizzard of the year was upon us. By evening the mercury had fallen to the zero point. And in a few days we were harvesting the finest ice we ever had. God did not want my ice. But He did want my yielded will, and my absolute trust in Him, and when that was settled, He gave back the ice; He blessed the business; and He led me on and out, until He guided me from it entirely, into the place He had for me from the beginning – that of a teacher of His Word.”

~ James McConkey, as quoted in Crowded to Christ, by L.E. Maxwell

Thought for Today: Stand still and see God’s Salvation

Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” Precipitancy cries, “Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.” But Faith listens neither to Presumption nor to Despair nor to Cowardice nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.

~ C.H. Spurgeon

If you have a chance to buy a used copy of Crowded to Christ, take it. I only saw two available on Amazon used, but they were not cheap. The book is real gold, especially for those going through very difficult, trying and bewildering times. When we are “crowded to Christ”,  real faith is the only choice.

Give Me Jesus

The news stories today are filled with blood and terror, pain and sorrow. Families are torn apart, children abused, politicians and pastors alike fall from corruption. Good seems so weak sometimes in the face of evil.

This week in London, votive candles and offerings of vodka bottles were left at shrines to the latest god to fall, singer Amy Winehouse, who died in a drugged and drunken binge. She had all this world can offer, and she had nothing.

You can have the world’s fake promises. Give me Jesus.

One Small Act

Dog_Chick_021It is so easy to accidentally hurt somebody. How many times have I been thoughtless or careless in a word or action and ended up causing somebody some pain? It isn’t that we intend to hurt someone most of the time. But without realizing it, we sometimes do just that.

The same is true for bringing a blessing to someone. Sometimes we plan out a way to bring joy to someone we care about. Other times, when we are going about our day, we can do it without realizing it, just by being kind.

Mom, I’ve never had a party, and I’d like to for Christmas, said my son. He was in his last year in high school when we lived in South Carolina, and he had made some good Christian friends.

“Excellent idea,” said I. “Tell me how many and what you want me to make for food. I’ll get the house ready.”  That particular house I called my Thomas Kinkade house because it had a white porch with brick steps and was perfect for Christmas decorations. We were putting up our tree that week, and I vowed to make the house look as pretty as possible for the party.

We decided on food, and I phoned in my order for some things I needed. Kids began accepting the invitation, and my son was pleased and excited about it. The day before the party, however, he came home from school and into the room where I was working. I knew something was wrong. He flopped down on the love seat in a discouraged manner and said, “About the party, never mind. Nobody’s coming. Everybody but one or two has canceled out on me.”

While he didn’t say much more, I knew he was deeply disappointed. I felt tears prick my eyes. Why did kids have to be so insensitive? Couldn’t they have stuck with their commitment to come? Obviously not. Sadly, I made a mental note to call the store and cancel the order. But I forgot to call, and later that night, my son came downstairs grinning.

“I hope you didn’t cancel the order. The party is on!” he said.

He had emailed one of the last kids who hadn’t canceled on him to let him know that the party was off because nobody could come. That wonderful boy told my son to hold on, he’d get back to him. He did get back in touch—saying he had found several kids who wanted to come to the party. It was definitely going to happen after all!

That student will never know what his casual kindness meant. He saved the party that ended up being a success, encouraged a shy fellow student who needed it, and blessed the student’s mom as well. It was one simple act of kindness that will always be remembered.

It happened many years ago to my grandpa. Grandpa Thomas grew up in the Missouri Ozarks in a family that was hardworking and respectable, but without much money. He attended a one-room schoolhouse, and every Christmas they had a program where the parents and community would come, the children would sing and recite, and a Santa character would hand out candy and oranges. It was the highlight of the year. But one year, Grandpa and his two close-in-age brothers had no proper clothes to wear to the program. My great-grandparents’ were aware of propriety back then and as the boys only had overalls to wear, their parents decided they couldn’t attend. You can imagine how heartbreaking this was. But. But the wealthiest boy in the school happened to hear that Grandpa and his brothers weren’t coming.  When Grandpa told him they couldn’t because they’d have to wear overalls, the rich boy promptly announced that overalls would be fine because that’s what he had been planning to wear. In the end, Grandpa and his brothers went to the Christmas program because one boy had a heart of gold. He humbled himself so that his friends would be there to enjoy the party and not feel out of place. Several generations later, his act of kindness is still remembered.

Each day provides a new opportunity to be a blessing to someone, even in a small way, beginning with our families. The harsh word left  unspoken or quickly retracted with an apology, the extra mile you go for one of your children or your husband, just because you love them, the kind word or needed encouragement, none of it is wasted.

One of my sons saw a frail older person in a grocery line who had a lot to bag. (This was at one of those do-it-yourself stores.) “Can I help you bag those?” he asked. The offer made a big impression, even on the check-out clerk. “What a fine thing to do,” she told me. “You don’t see that very often.” Sadly, she is probably right.

One small act of kindness really isn’t so small at all. Those little kindnesses get stored up in that place in our hearts where we treasure life’s blessings. We can pull them out, years later, and remember them again with gratitude.