DayBreaks for 9/17/18: Resignation and Acceptance
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:
I recently read an article by Jill Briscoe that dealt with struggling and troubles in this world. We often think we have troubles – they seem real enough to us and I don’t mean to disparage any hardship that anyone is going through. But, by and large, we Americans know very little of trouble compared to the rest of the world. Sure, we worry about how to make our house payments, but there are countless millions (billions?) in this world who don’t have a house at all. Our health issues are troubles – no mistake about that. But at least, we have “modern medicine” available to us while many people must either suffer through their illness alone in order to get well – or they die.
How do (or should) we deal with difficulties? Should we just resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll have trouble (just like Jesus said we would)? Should we accept it, and if so, how?
Resignation and acceptance are two different things. Some religions are resigned to fate: Hinduism, Buddhism for example. The Christian, alternatively I believe, is to accept suffering and use it for a greater purpose. “Resignation is surrender to fate; acceptance is surrender to God,” said Elisabeth Elliot. “Resignation lies down quietly in an empty universe. Acceptance rises up to meet the God who fills that universe with purpose and destiny.…Resignation says, ‘It’s all over for me.’ Acceptance asks, ‘Now that I’m here, Lord, what’s next?’ Resignation says, ‘What a waste.’ Acceptance says, ‘In what redemptive way can you use this mess, Lord?'”
Who is Elisabeth Elliot? You probably know: she’s a woman whose husband lay flat on his face, dead in a river with an arrow in his back—martyred for Jesus. What did Elisabeth do? She said, “In what redemptive way can you use this mess, Lord? I know that my Redeemer lives. He died to make me fit for heaven; he lives to make me fit for earth. Now, what are you going to redeem, buy back, out of this situation?”
Elisabeth Elliot took the hand of her 6-year-old daughter, and Marge Saint, the wife of another martyred missionary, and they walked to that tribe that had killed their husbands. When they arrived at the jungle village, they weren’t killed; they were accepted. They proceeded to translate the Bible into the language of the tribe, and the whole tribe came to Christ.
At age 17, Marge Saint’s little girl, Kathy, told the story of that day and more. She said, “I remember at 15, I stood in the river where my father had died, and I was baptized by the man who killed him. That man is now the pastor of that tribe.”
Would the Elliot’s and Saint’s have asked for the troubles that life brought their way? Absolutely not. Yet they did accept it – they didn’t give up in resignation and say, “Oh, well. I guess this wasn’t meant to be.” In the loss and turmoil, they sought some way that God would turn their tragedy into something purposeful.
When we are faced with difficulties, don’t just resign yourself to the hardship. Seek to see and understand how God can use it in a redemptive way and create something beautiful and eternal out of it.
PRAYER: Father, we don’t understand all that happens to us here, and we don’t like much of what happens. Keep us from bitterness. Open our hearts to Your divine redemptive purposes in what takes place and show us Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.