One of my favorite female authors is Elisabeth Elliot. I find her writing to be straightforward, practical, and a breath of fresh air from most female authors I have read.
Having been married a total of three times (widowed twice, currently married) (+) her commitment to honoring the word of God (=) when she has something to share about life and marriage and raising children, I want to listen.
Plus - just look at her. Doesn't she just beckon you to come and sit down beside her with a hot cup of tea, ready to talk about Jesus? And wouldn't you love to look around her house, at her books and heirlooms and old photographs of life in the jungle?
My friend passed along a link to an unfinished, and previously unpublished draft of a recent book she was working on. It's title is the name of this blog entry. At first glance I admit that I didn't like the sound of it. Marriage and "test of discipleship" in the same sentence. It sounds so unromantic, so unexciting, so duty-like. But I like EE and I trust her wisdom and when she shares something, I want to listen. I printed out the 50 pages and I'm reading through it and learning quite a bit. It's not that she is saying anything new. I mean, she has written a few books that deal with marriage and I've read them. Plus - it's basic biblical theology so nothing is striking me as "new-new" if you know what I mean. But she is taking the theology of marriage and helping me see unchanging truths in a different way. In other words, it's as if the light of God's Word is beaming on the same old truths in a slightly different angle and I'm finding it thought provoking. It's making me think and I like when a book does that.
I wanted to share a quote from F.D. Maurice (1805-1872) that EE shares.
"Oh, how many times we can most of us remember when we would gladly have made any compromise with our consciences, would gladly have made the most costly sacrifices to God, if He would only have excused us from this duty of loving, of which our nature seemed utterly incapable. It is far easier to feel kindly, to act kindly, toward those with whom we are seldom brought into contact, whose tempers and prejudices do not rub against ours, whose interests do not clash with ours, than to keep up an habitual steady, self-sacrificing love toward those whose weaknesses and faults are always forcing themselves upon us, and are stirring up our own."
I dont' think you have to be married very long to know how accurate this statement is. We don't even have to be married to see the truth in this - but that's another blog entry. The lie we often believe is that loving our spouse should just come natural. After all we fell in love with this person (whatever "falling" means to you). We chose to share our lives till death separates us. Loving others requires sacrifice. It requires a relinquishing of ourselves and our rights. It puts others first, even when we feel they don't deserve it. The truth is, we don't deserve it either, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Click here if you are interested in reading the unfinished draft.