"We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don't wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has."
— Amy Carmichael
I read the above words and immediately knew the truth in them. They resonated within my heart and I said, "Yes, Lord." For sometimes the Lord takes from us what we cling to on this earth. He did with me.
To settle down was just exactly what I wanted in this world. Like most women, I longed for the home, white picket fence and all. And for awhile, I thought that I had it. But the truth of the matter is that it had me.
There was no time or energy left for thinking on Him or furthering His work. My life revolved around keeping alive the dream that I had spun. I truly felt that if I lost that dream, I would be a failure. Life would have no meaning. I suppose from the earthly glasses I was looking through, that might be the case.
I am so blessed to have a gracious God who saw me grasping at shallow dreams, and rescued me from them. The dreams I had spun became more and more of nightmare quality. Yet it only caused me to cling more tightly to the illusion.
By that time, I had tuned out the whisperings of the Holy Spirit for so long that I was deaf to them. The Lord needed to reach me through "the outside" for I was no longer a vessel He could reach from within. I don't mean to limit His power, for it is limitless, but He will not force us from within. We always have a choice. I had made mine. He could have left me there.
One by one He pried my stiff fingers from around the dreams I clung to. He knew that what I held onto was garbage compared to the beautiful, fulfilling life He wanted to give to me. In my stubbornness and pride, I grasped, even as my dreams fell away.
Pain. He allowed me to feel the agonizing pain that comes from losing nearly all of your worldly possessions. More than the possessions, though, the pain came from the loss of dreams long dreamed.
Left with little that those around would consider of value, I was faced with the crux of the issue.
"Now child, with these other distractions removed, what will you do with Me?"
We always have a choice. Maybe not about our circumstances, but always about where we place our trust. Who we will serve.
I look at my little rented home, and at the rusty old van that we ride in, and I say "Thank-you, Lord. Thank-you for not giving up on me. Thank-you for reminding me that I am but a pilgrim on this earth. I'm only camping. My dream home will come later. Use me now, even today, Lord Jesus. Change me, teach me, use me. I am yours."
"But in a great house there are not only vessels gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." (II Tim. 2:20, 21)