Wednesday, 21 October 2015

From my Reading: Obedience, Suffering & Trust

http://www.wikiart.org/en/camille-corot/the-path-leading-to-the-house-1854
Camille Corot, 1854


In the last week I've come across the themes of obedience, suffering and trust in three different places. I'm always pleasantly surprised when these connections happen and I'm grateful I've gotten  into the habit of having a number of books on the go at the one time. It really does help these connections to happen organically.
I've been reading, very slowly, through One Thousand Gifts after starting it earlier this year. Ann Voscamp bares her soul in this book and I've been savouring what she's written about so honestly - the pain of her childhood experiences of loss, her struggles to trust in God's goodness and her journey of gratitude.
This week I read these words:

The practice of giving thanks...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see.

This living a lifestyle of intentional gratitude became an unintentional test in the trustworthiness of God - and in counting blessings I stumbled upon the way out of fear...

Every time fear freezes and worry writhes, every time I surrender to stress, aren't I advertising the unreliability of God?

The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Sratton-Porter

I've just finished this book and will write about it more fully later but I wanted to share this quote which relates to obedience and how our decisions in this area don't just affect our own lives.

"Don't!" cried Jamie. "Don't be bitter, Margaret. We don't know why, we never can know why things happen in this world exactly as they do; but this we know: We know that God is in His Heaven, that He is merciful to the extent of ordaining mercy; we know that if we disobey and take our own way and run contrary to His commandments, we are bitterly punished. And it is the most pitiful of laws that no man or woman can take their punishment 'alone' in this world. It is the law that none of us can suffer without making someone else suffer, but in some way it must be that everything works out for the best, even if we can't possibly see how that could be when things are happening that hurt us so..."

This third place where these three themes were expressed was this article I read on Sally Clarkson's blog. Sally speaks about the example of a mentor/an older, wiser woman, and the encouragement she gained from her life:

But it is what you practice, day after day, that builds your integrity, your character, your strength, your message–what you do when no one is looking.


And so this is the place I became spiritually strong. God gave me a testing ground for my soul–this place of being faithful, generous, loving even if I received nothing in return.


This place of difficulty became my greatest lifetime glory. Never underestimate the hidden, unseen acts of obedience.”






7 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed Keeper of Bees. What great connections between very different sources!

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  2. Lovely quotes and that painting is so beautiful! :D

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  3. I love these connections, Carol! I've never read Porter. I hear that she incorporates a lot of nature into her books! Which book has the most nature in it? Would it be a good choice to read to Amelia?
    I've read Anne's book every year for a few years now. I love how the book teaches me how to "see" God's mercy in every situation. Something I seem to need to "re-learn" often! Love from the Sunny South, Betty

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    1. Hi Betty, Keeper of the Bees would be better for around age 15 & up. Freckles would be good to start with and then Girl of the Limberlost - I cried over these two. Every time I read her books I feel like going out to potter around in the garden, which isn't something I always feel like doing, but her writing just pulls me into the natural world. I fee l this even though much of what she talks about isn't to be found here. X

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  4. I love when certain themes line up like that. Makes me wake up and take note of what God would be trying to tell me. I have not got myself to read Ann Voskamp's book yet. Though I like quotes from her writings here and there for the most part I find the style hard to slog through. Maybe I should try reading it in small bits and slowly.

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    1. Hi Susanne, I like your comment, 'Makes me wake up and take note of what God would be trying to tell me.' So true!

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  5. I love, love, love it when this happens - when God so gently shows me where He wants my focus by bringing it up again and again in a variety of places! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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