One of my favorite moments from the 2007 Desiring God National Conference was the message delivered by Dr. Helen Roseveare entitled “A Call for the Perseverance of the Saints.” Dr. Roseveare served for over twenty years as a medical missionary to the Congo, and now, in her eighties, has answered the call to the mission field of Northern Ireland. She is an incredible woman and an inspiration for us all. If you have time, you would do well to listen to this audio excerpt from Dr. Roseveare’s message.
I listened to the message again last night on my way back home after a long and troubling week and was greatly blessed. When going through a tough phase “in the valley,” I tend to get impatient and seek for a quick resolution from God. I was reminded again by Dr. Roseveare that God is in control, even in our personal struggles, and that it is important that we keep the faith and persevere. In her words: “It is utterly essential to persevere to the end. To start a race is fine; but it’s much more important that we finish, that we hit the tape.”
There are times when you can’t understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification — to be set apart from sin and made holy — or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt — wait.
At first you may see clearly what God’s will is — the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God’s will for you to do. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God’s timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. “I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant. Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.” (John 13:38, ESV). This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.
This is an excerpt from a prayer entitled “Yet I Sin” from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. It reminds me of Paul’s declaration in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that the life of a Christian is marked as one that is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” I don’t know of anyone that speaks more eloquently on this subject than John Piper.
Work in me more profound and abiding repentance;
Give me the fullness of a godly grief that trembles and fears,
yet ever trusts and loves,
which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant that through the tears of repentance I may see more clearly
the brightness and glories of the saving cross.
Grant to us, Lord, we pray,
the spirit to think and do always
those things that are right,
that we, who cannot exist without you,
may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The following quote is taken from a recent Crossway press release:
Wheaton, IL—China will provide 10,000 free Chinese-English bilingual Bibles to be distributed in the Olympic Village where the Olympic athletes and media are housed, as reported by the China Daily newspaper. The bilingual Bible text will include the CUV (Chinese Union Version) and the ESV (English Standard Version), appearing in two side-by-side columns per page. The CUV Bible is the most widely distributed Chinese Bible in the world, and the ESV Bible has recently become the fastest-growing English language Bible in the world.
I stumbled upon a link to this NPR interview with John Piper while reading some comments at Justin Taylor’s weblog. This is a thoughtful, biblical response to people that question the sovereignty of God in the face of tragic events, in this case the 2005 Tsunami. The interview is about 30 minutes long but well worth the investment of time.
Know Jesus. Sit as His feet. Consider His nature, His works, His sufferings, His glory. Rejoice in His presence; commune with Him day to day. To know Christ, is to understand the most excellent of all sciences. You cannot fail to be wise if you commune with Incarnate Wisdom; you cannot lack strength if you have constant fellowship with God.