3.26.2014

Resting on the Faithful One.

One of my favorite biographies ever is Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret.
I read it for the first time a couple of years ago and was blown away by his intense faith, his unwavering trust in the Lord, and the unforgettable impact he had on those who knew him ~ because of his refusal to worry, strain, or fret about anything knowing that His God was in control and fully able to take care of his every concern.
He is one of my heroes to be sure!

When I read the book the first time, there was a certain letter that grabbed my attention.  A letter to his sister describing an intense meeting he had with the Lord - that changed him forever.

The boys and I are currently listening to the audio version of the book, and I was stunned when we arrived at the same letter and I felt myself impacted/convicted/challenged once again!  Part of me thought, "How cool that it still resonates with me!"  The other part thought, "ACK!  It's because I am STILL struggling in this area!  Drat."

When we arrived home from our travels, I looked up the post I had written about the Lord's workings in me after reading this book, and what a surprise!  There was the letter, in its entirety, affecting me more deeply in the form of the written word than it did upon hearing it.  I love when God works this way!  I will be honest - it is a little discouraging that I have not grown more mature in this area so that this finding could be encouraging and nostalgic ... but I know without a doubt the Lord led to me it "for such a time as this."  I NEEDED to read this.  I needed to have a mirror held up to my face to show me my lack.  I needed to be reminded that there IS another way to live - a better way - a more purposeful and relaxed way.  The way I long to live -
ABIDING in the Savior.

A constant longing ... but one that is hard to make tangible in the flow of daily life.  For me anyway. Hudson Taylor DID have the secret, he shared the secret, and He rested in the fruits of living the secret.  I pray the Lord will use this letter to draw me into a place of peace - a place of rest - and a place of contentment that I have never known before.  He bids me, "Come.  Find rest IN ME.  Learn from Me - for My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Oh, Lord!  Teach me how to stop striving so that I can simply ABIDE.  In You.

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(NOTE:  This letter is copied directly from the book, though edited for length's sake.  All emphasis mine as I highlighted the points that most resonated with me.)

Dearie,

The last month or more has been, perhaps, the happiest of my life, and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul.

Well, dearie, my mind has been greatly exercised, feeling the need personally and for our Mission of more holiness, life, power in our souls.  But personal need stood first and was greatest.  I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God.  I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation - but all without avail.  Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me.

I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not.  I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, hard thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control.  Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power.  To will was indeed "present with me," but how to perform I found not

Then came the question, is there no rescue?  Must it be thus to the end - constant conflict, and too often defeat?  How could I preach with sincerity that, to those who receive Jesus, "to them gave He power to become sons of God" when it was not so in my own experience?  Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin; and no wonder, for faith and even hope were getting low.  I hated myself, I hated my sin, yet gained no strength against it.  I felt I was a child of God.  His Spirit in my heart would cry, in spite of all, "Abba Father."  But to rise to my privileges as a child, I was utterly powerless.

There was nothing I so much desired as holiness, nothing I so much needed; but far from any measure attaining it, the more I strove after it, the more it eluded my grasp, until hope itself almost died out, and I began to think that - perhaps to make heaven the sweeter - God would not give it down here.  I do not think I was striving to attain it in my own strength.  I knew I was powerless.  I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength.  Sometimes I almost believed that He would keep and uphold me; but on looking back in the evening - alas! there was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God.

I would not give you the impression that this was the only experience of those long, weary months. Sometimes there were seasons not only of peace but of joy in the Lord; but they were transitory, and at best there was a sad lack of power.  Oh, how good the Lord has been in bringing this conflict to an end!

All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was - how to get it out.  He was rich truly, but I was poor; He was strong, but I was weak.  As gradually light dawned, I saw that faith was the only requisite - was the hand to lay hold on His fulness and make it mine.  But I had not this faith.

I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain.  Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fulness of our precious Saviour, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase.  

When my agony was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before.  McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure but saw the light before I did, wrote:  "But how to get faith strengthened?  Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."

As I read it I saw it all!  "If we believe not, He abideth faithful"  I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, "I will never leave thee."  "Ah, there is rest!" I thought.  "I have striven in vain to rest in Him.  I'll strive no more.  For has not He promised to abide with me - never to leave me, never to fail me?"  And, dearie, He never will.

Oh, my dear Sister, it is a wonderful thing to be really one with a risen and exalted Saviour, to be a member of Christ!

The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings.  I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine.  It makes no matter where He places me, or how.  That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient.  So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength?  No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency!  And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me.

And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been!  I am no better than before.  In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be.  But I am dead and buried with Christ - ay, and risen too!  And now Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."

May God give you grace to lay hold on these blessed truths.  They are the birthright of every child of God, and no one can dispense with them without dishonouring our Lord.  The only power for deliverance from sin or for true service, is Christ.

Hudson Taylor
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Isn't that an AMAZING letter?

What a testimony to the grace and power of God in the life of one of His children!

"Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."  Such a beautiful phrase!
And one I want to make my own:
I do not strive after faith, but I rest on the Faithful One ... my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Oh, Lord!  Make me that woman!

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