Why? What does He want me to learn? Perhaps that before I can serve Him I must know what it is to seek Him? That before I can act for Him I must abide in Him? And that before I can proclaim His truth to the broken soul I need to hear His plea to trust in my own soul?
These are lessons learned slowly. At the foot of the cross. They are a cross. But we bear it for His glory.
I've been reading Frances Ridley Havergal the last few days, author of The Consecration Hymn ("Take my life and let it be..."), and she says it much better than I could.
"We hold not a treasure on earth which we are sure of keeping; and we never know whether gain or loss, failure or success, ease or pain, lies before us. And if we were allowed to put our finger on the balance of uncertainties and turn it as we chose, we should be sure to defeat some ultimate aim by securing a nearer one, and prevent some greater good by grasping a lesser" (Starlight Through the Shadows, pp. 10-11).
Lord, keep my hands from the course of my own life. Fix my eyes, not on the service of You, my King, but on You alone. On Your bleeding side and nail-pierced hands, and may my cry be, "More love to Thee, O Christ! More love to Thee!"
Why, oh why, has my cry become, "More service to Thee!"? They are linked, yes, but they are not equal. The first causes the second, but the first is never simply the means to the second. Love is our means and our end.
Make me content to sit at Your feet, even for the length of all my days, with never an act of service in Your name. Why do we try to earn the greatest gift ever given? May acts of joyful kindness be the overflow of grateful praise, and any trace of compassion the running over of overwhelmed love.
Keep me ever humble, seeking the feet of the Master whenever I am tempted to reach out for all that is not Him. Draw me back to the crossbeams of love when the cries of "Serve Him!" drown out the cries of "Praise Him!"
Christ, You will bind up this broken, bleeding world, and this is how You will do it. By drawing men to Yourself, to Your beautiful feet of healing love, not by assigning them duty tasks to fulfill. So fly, demons of lies and discouragement who sneer that my seeking Jesus means abandoning the lost! Jesus is seeking and saving all that which is lost, and in my seeking Him I am drawn closer to His heart of purpose for this shattered world.
Teach me, Lord, teach me. You know how slow I am in the learning.