“My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
‘Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His,
‘At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!’
(Fanny Brook, Hymns of Consecration and Faith)
This is quoted by Dr. Helen Roseveare on page 35 of her book ‘Living Fellowship: Willing to be the third side of a triangle’
I have stopped cold since reading it and I am reflecting on it and asking myself only question:
Can this be said of me?
The unsettling truth is that a quick self audit reveals the answer to be in the negative. This is sobering, jolting as well as heartbreaking.
The context of this quote is Dr. Roseveare discussing what I would dare summaries as ‘priorities of a Christian life’. She goes ahead to elaborate this further by quoting Ignatius of Loyola,”Man was created for this end – to praise, reverence and serve the Lord His God.” Dr. Roseveare then says in her characteristic concise way of writing, “Our first duty is adoration; our second awe; and only our third is service”
I first interacted with Dr. Roseveare in her book ‘Living Sacrifice: Whittled as an arrow’ a decade plus ago. At the time, I was single and did not quite fully grasp the depth of her writing. It was not until I got married and began the torturous journey of dealing with reproductive health challenges that I began to identify with her experiences and surrender in that book. I become aware, fully aware of no longer belonging to myself but to God. I learnt to embrace pain and suffering. I learnt to be filled with joy in the midst of unexplained health difficulties. In hindsight, I am convinced that God in His Providence brought that book my way to prepare me for the last ten years of my life. And for that I am grateful.
You can therefore imagine my horror when I could no longer find a copy of this precious book. Thankfully, someone was able to buy me a copy and bring it back from overseas. When I recently saw a copy of her book in an online bookshop, I immediately reserved it and requested for first dips on any of her work. Thankfully Mugwe’s Shop does deliveries and I am on the road to have a complete Dr. Helen Roseveare collection. Missing – ‘Living Faith: Willing to be Stirred as a Pot of Paint’; ‘Give us this Mountain’; and ‘Digging Ditches: The Last Chapter of an Inspiring Life.’
The glitter and gruesomeness of service can and does cause many a servants to lose sight of God. To lose sight of the wondrous cross. This is tragic to say the least. Dr. Roseveare quoting Evelyn Underhill reminds those who serve that,”The very first requisite for a teacher of spiritual truths is that his(or her) own inner life should be maintained in a healthy state, and his contact with God be steady and true”
In our service of and to God we MUST keep our eyes on God
The all time favorite chorus from the Hymn ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus‘ by Helen Howarth Lemmel encapsulates what I am reminded so far in reading ‘Living Fellowship’
It is so easy to get distracted serving like Martha of old. When everything seems so urgent, it takes an awakened, conscious soul to make the choice of Mary; sit at the feet of her Master in awe and complete wonder. Dr. Roseveare in my observation and reading is one such soul that continuously made a choice to stay in awe of God through ought her life. And in obedience made a written record of her awe journey for posterity. No wonder Noel Piper whose endorsement is on the cover of each book in the ‘Living Series’ by Dr. Roseveare states: “Each time I read one of her accounts, I want to be like her, I want to know God as she does”
May God forgive me for losing sight of Him and getting lost in service to Him and for Him
May God forgive us for losing sight of Him and getting lost in service to Him and for Him
May God help and enable me to stay focused on Him
May God help and enable us to stay focused on Him
May God help and enable me to keep my priorities right
May God help and enable us to keep our priorities right.
To God’s glory and for my/our transformation into the image of His Son Jesus Christ!