Living For Jesus

A Quiet Heart

I had the pleasure recently of attending a conference where Elisabeth Elliot was speaking. Her topic for the day was how to have a quiet heart. I'd like to share some of the insights I gleaned from her talks.

A quiet heart, is that possible amidst all the clamor and commotion of a busy household especially one in which children are home on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis? At times the sheer volume of work that must be done, repeatedly done because dishes do not stay clean and clothes do not stay fresh, can lead us to grumbling, complaining and indulging in waves of self pity. We have all heard and probably chided our children to do their work as unto the Lord, and yet we still find ourselves wallowing in self pity when faced yet again with the task we dread doing. That could be ironing, washing floors, turning socks right side out, or any other regular household task that others might find relaxing but you associate with Chinese water torture.

Elisabeth shared these verses from Isaiah 32:17-18.
"The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, "

What did Christ make our hearts for? To be filled by Him. " Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col 1:27. When I fill my heart with thoughts of myself, desires for myself, pity for myself, I am crowding out the one who should have all my heart, Christ Jesus. That is what self pity does. It crowds out Jesus and puts me at the center of my life.

If the work of righteousness is peace and the effect of righteousness is quietness and confidence, how do I get there? Elisabeth shared several points that show us what to do. First, receive what God has given you. If he has given you a home with six children and the expected mountain of laundry, receive it. Elisabeth says that when she must receive something from God which she does not want, but which it is abundantly clear He has allowed into her life, she physically gets on her knee and makes a statement of acceptance. Instead of saying, "Why me," ask "Why not me."

Point two follows. I have no right over myself, because I am His disciple. "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor 6:20. If you are His follower, you are a sharer in his sufferings if you accept the sufferings he allows in your life. Elisabeth has a great definition of suffering: "Suffering is wanting what you don't have, or having what you don't want." So, then when you have a pile of clothes to iron, you may indeed be suffering because you've got a whole pile of things to do that you don't want. These may seem like small things, but if they are what God has allowed in your life, they are not small things to him. They are a way for you to demonstrate that you trust Him to do with you for your own good and to obey Him by accepting what He has allowed into your life.

In Huqo Bassi's poem, ''Sermon in a Hospital," he says, ''Measure thy life by loss and not by gain; not by the wine drunk, but by the wine poured forth. For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice, and he that suffereth most hath most to give."

In point three Elisabeth shared why God allows us to suffer. He wants us to learn who He is. The more we learn of God, His goodness, His love for us, the more we trust and obey Him. He is Lord of the Universe who will lead us into a storm, but will not abandon us to the storm. He will teach us things about ourselves and about Him that we can only learn in the storm.

"Love divine has seen and counted every tear it caused to fall,
And the storm which love appointed was its choicest gift of all."

Isaiah says, "In quietness and trust is your strength." We must learn to trust that where God puts us and what He allows in our lives are both things He does for our good. As Psalm 147:3-4 says He is the one who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, who also counts the number of the stars and gives names to all of them." He is the Lord of the Universe and He cares for you. Trust Him.

Gateway to Joy - Elisabeth's 13 year radio ministry

Copyright ©  2001 Beverly S. Krueger