A missionary friend, in doing her part to share the 7th video exposing Planned Parenthood (http://adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2015/08/19/when-a-baby’s-heart-beats-the-heart-stopping-testimony-from-the-7th-planned-parenthood-video), quoted Galatians 6:9a, “Let us not be weary in well-doing…”
I must admit I do feel quite weary these days. People refuse to see evil exposed. They refuse to see how they are destroying themselves. They refuse to learn from history. They reject the truth again…again…and again. I can hardly bear to watch these videos…and while my emotions roil, others are outright dismissive, mocking or rejecting. It is hard to have compassion for people like this.
While serving in the nursery recently, a little girl handed me a book about Jonah, asking me to read it. How I identified with Jonah! My attitude towards people who live for themselves can run very cold at times. I’ve found myself wishing God’s quick judgment upon them. I am amazed at our patient, loving God who withholds His wrath.
I’m tired of the fight. On issue after issue, people are “doing what is right in their own eyes” (like they did in the days of Judges). I’m tired of caring about people who seem “hell-bent” on continuing down a path of destruction. I’m sensing this tiring in other Christians as well. How many times I have heard it expressed, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” There is an acknowledgement that evil is increasing and with it, an increasing longing among believers to be out of this mess. We’re so done with it! Yet, should He tarry, we wonder why we should continue to bother with people so bent on having their own way. After all, we could happily distract ourselves with fun and family, living the good life in whatever time we have left, knowing our own future is secure.
Working my way through Amy Carmichael’s “Things As They Are,” I have to stop every so often to digest her writing. Her passion for the lost souls in India was intense…convicting. She is noted for serving on the mission field for 55 years without a furlough. She wrote, “Present with the Lord…can we enjoy it all by ourselves?” I often wonder how she could live gripped by such intensity and still be able to carry out the tasks of everyday life! She was acutely aware of what she was up against in Hindu culture and the caste, yet she refused to give up sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with people so bound and blinded by them. In chapter six she describes a vision she had on a hot, sleepless night:
“The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, it seemed, this:
That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth. Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. The were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step…it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over! Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound. Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come. Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were far too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.”
In a later part, she describes those falling over the precipice as “a waterfall of souls.” The chapter goes on to describe the rest of her vision, but I will leave the rest for you to read on your own (because everyone should read this book!). At one point in the chapter she either described some thoughts with which she wrestled or expressed the blase attitude of other believers she observed: “What does it matter after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?” She quickly counters with the cry, “God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!”
These words burn in my brain, reminding me that apathy, resignation, and disengagement is not an option. How easily I tire! How quickly I long for the battle to be over to enjoy peace and tranquility! How I lack endurance! Lord, give me eyes to see this vision afresh–of a blinded waterfall of souls. Fill my heart with compassion again!
Amy quotes another missionary’s words at the beginning of the chapter. “Our prayers for the…world are but a bitter irony so long as we only give of our superfluity, and draw back before the sacrifice of ourselves.”
The sacrifice of myself? Oh, how I recognize more and more as I age how truly selfish I am! I assess each commitment in terms of what it will cost me. How patient God is with me to remind me again and again of His sacrifice for me! I underlined these words of Amy’s and wrote them in my Bible, “…feelings will not save souls; it cost God Calvary to win us. It will cost us as much as we may know of the fellowship of His sufferings, if those for whom He did that day are ever to be won.”
The Enemy would have us be jaded enough to give up caring about saving souls, influencing our culture for Christ, exposing the deeds of darkness. He would convince us those around us do not care. He would convince us they are not worth caring about. May the Lord renew our hearts with compassion! We are salt and light! Let us not become weary in well-doing. It is true today as Amy reminded her readers long ago, “There is room along the edge of the precipice. There are gaps left all unguarded. ….What are we going to do? Not what are we going to say or sing, or even feel or pray–but what are we going to do?”
It is interesting to note that the majority of Amy’s work in India morphed into rescuing temple children and caring for them. This required courage, persistence, patience… She “cut the toenails of a thousand children with a greater hope in view.” She did not lose her compassion for people, but she channeled her passion as God directed her focus. I’m thankful for her example.
From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee. – Amy Carmichael
Let us fill the gaps as God directs us…for as the whole of Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not.”
A challenge from 2 Timothy 2 (ESV)
(A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus)
Verses 1-13: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.”
(A Worker Approved by God)
Verses 14-26: “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”