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Friday, March 13, 2009

A Rose: The Price of Purpose

I've been reading the book "Digging Ditches" by Helen Roseveare recently, and was impacted by a couple of her thoughts in one of the chapters.

For those of you who have never heard of Helen Roseveare, she is a former missionary to the Congo of Africa, and underwent many challenges while there. "Digging Ditches" was written about her time after she left the Congo (for medical reasons) and finding her purpose again in normal, mundane, everyday activities.

Anywho. On to the point...

In order to illustrate a lesson on the price of our purpose in Christ, she took a single stemmed rose and stripped it to create an arrow. She began by plucking off all of it's beautiful petals and leaves. Though they were good things, and essential to the life of the rose, they would be a hindrance in its new function as an arrow. She then cut off the thorns and side branches - these would cause instability in the balance of the arrow. Then, taking the bare stem, she whittled away the bark, the very bark that protected the flower from rain and sun...but once whittled away, left the shaft polished and smooth and useful as an arrow.

The questions posed as she did this were(and I paraphrase): Am I willing to allow God to strip me of even the good things in my life (the petals and leaves), if that will make me into an instrument for His service? Even my marriage, my little Hopie (as I call Faith Hope), and my general happiness? Am I willing to let God strip me of my "rights" (the branches) -- my right to choose my husband, choose where I work, choose when I try to get pregnant, and have a cozy home and a happy life -- if that's what it takes to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles"? Am I willing to be stripped naked of myself (the bark) and the essence of who I am and what my plans are for my life in order to be wholly identified with Him and available for His purpose?

Wow.

I found myself weeping as I read through her illustration...once again reminded that it's not about ME. Even though I think that losing my little Hopie sucks (and it does), and it's not fair and why me and why doesn't God just wipe all this pain and despair away? But it's not about ME. It's about HIM. Not that that trivializes or minimizes the pain and sorrow I'm going through...but it does give me HOPE.

There IS a PURPOSE in this sorrow...

6 comments:

Charissa said...

Thank you. :)

I love how we can all sharpen and encourage each other with the things the Lord is teaching us as we go through trials. You're right...it doesn't make the pain disappear, but we have full confidence that there is something to be gained from it...and it will be beautiful.

I love you.

Keep your eyes fixed on HIM.

Tony and Lisa said...

Oh, Elizabeth, we ache for you with the things God is teaching you and Joe. Yet we know that He is in control and is refining the two of you for ministry that only He can see now.

We love you so much and are continuing to pray for you as you seek the Lord.

Love,
dad

Tony and Lisa said...

Elizabeth,
I am praying for you. I'm so glad God is using the book to minister to your heart. If I could take away your pain I would. God is good and He is in control. It will be exciting to see His plan unfold.
I love you,
Mom

Charity and Tony said...

Wow, what an illustration.
Thank you for sharing that.

Steven and Jan said...

Wow, thanks for sharing Liz. I'm encouraged by your faith. We are still praying for you! I love you.

Abbie said...

I'm sorry to hear about your losing little Hopie. I'm glad to know that I could be of a little help in what I know is such a hard time. I'm so happy to see that you're turning to God right now. Sometimes He's the only thing that gets me through days. I'll be praying that you don't need a D&C and that you will continue to feel God's presence in your life.

-Abbie