Note from Randy: For the last issue of our Eternal Perspectives magazine, we asked several of our staff and board members to share a Christian quote that they've found meaningful, and also why that quote has helped them in their walk with Christ. (Sign up to receive our magazine in the mail for free, or to receive a notification when the latest issue is posted online.)
“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’” —C. S. Lewis, writing about Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
God terrifies me sometimes. He’s just SO big, and SO powerful. And yet, when I rest between His two velveted paws, lean back into His comforting warmth, and feel His sweet breath on me, I know that even though He’s not safe in the sense of controllable—or even predictable—He is infinitely good. And there is no place I’d rather be.
My sweet friend Myrna Alexander is an author and was a missionary for many years in Russia. She shared this at a seminar on prayer she was teaching at Good Shepherd many years ago, and it has been so impactful for me. I have this written on a chalk sign that sits out where I see it every day:
“Pray. Never give up in the process, regardless of what you see or feel. God is always at work!”
When I’m worried or anxious about a situation, my first instinct is usually to try to DO something to fix it. But Myrna’s words remind me that PRAYER is always the best first step, and God is the only one who can fix broken things. He sees far beyond what I can see or feel in the moment and always knows what’s best.
Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing Christ’s hand
Who placed it before you with earnest command,
Stayed on His omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings. DO THE NEXT THING.
The quote “Do the next thing” (originally from an old English poem) was shared by Elisabeth Elliot and has served me well over the years. At times I’ve felt a bit rattled and out of sync with my day, wondering how to move forward. Then I remember this quote and simply take the next step! It has also helped me to discipline myself in keeping a daily routine and doing the important things first.
“Life is a process, not an event.”
I first heard this quote from Jackie Viss, who was such a blessing in my life as a spiritual mentor for many years, and it also was attributed to Elisabeth Elliot. It has helped me to have patience and trust in the Lord’s timing and wisdom in dealing with me through the various trials and issues in my life.
“To rest is to acknowledge that we humans are limited by design. We are created for rest just as surely as we are created for labor. An inability or unwillingness to cease from our labors is a confession of unbelief, an admission that we view ourselves as creator and sustainer of our own universes… This wrong thinking renders us not free, but enslaved to our ambition and enslaving of those we employ to achieve it.” —Jen Wilkin, Ten Words to Live By
Recently I have been thinking about what it really means to keep the Sabbath. And I realize at the heart of it is acknowledging that the work God calls us to is HIS work. In Exodus, God gives Moses and the Israelites the work of building the tabernacle and all the accessories for worship. But the section ends in chapters 29 and 30 with Him explaining that the men He called to do the work He equipped with the skill and knowledge, by His Spirit, to do it. He had provided the material needed when they plundered Egypt in the exile. Then He calls them to not forsake the Sabbath—a reminder that in the midst of the work, its completion doesn’t rely on them! It is His work, and He provides all that is needed to complete it. “They sought God eagerly, and He was found by them. So Yahweh gave them rest on every side” (2 Chronicles 15:15b).
“Faith is…believing that in the midst of suffering and need that God will be enough, that He will enable me to make it through.” —Pamela Reeve, Faith Is…
I purchased this book in my early 20s and identified with so many of the encouraging thoughts and lessons on each page. I read this one at a particularly difficult time and felt like the Lord was telling me right then, “I’m with you, I’m enough for you, and I will help you get through this.” I memorized that sweet promise, and it has encouraged me so many times in the last 20+ years to trust God in the difficult moments and believe that by trusting and leaning into Him, He will be the One to enable me to make it through hard things in life.
Think through me, thoughts of God,
And let my own thoughts be
Lost like the sand-pools on the shore
Of the eternal sea.
After growing up as an anxious child, I remember coming across this quote as a young fledgling adult recently out of the nest of my parents. Anxious thoughts ruled my mind. “Think through me, thoughts of God” resonated and settled in and gave me a phrase to add to my prayers. Think through me Jesus. Whatever is pure and lovely, honorable and true, think these thoughts through me. On my own, my thoughts are just anxiety after anxiety. This translated to my prayers later as I realized more and more that apart from Christ, I could do very little in my own strength. Love people through me, parent my children through me. Jesus, I can’t do it; do it through me. It helped me recognize myself as the vessel that Christ does His work through and that it was not by my own efforts but by the work of His Holy Spirit in me that I could obey and overcome a deeply rooted and habitually anxious thought life.
“Remember Whose you are and Whom you serve. Provoke yourself by recollection, and your affection for God will increase tenfold; your imagination will not be starved any longer, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.” —Oswald Chambers
I appreciate this quote because it reminds me of my identity. I belong to God, and I serve God. Jesus came as a servant, and He served! He went about doing good, helping people, meeting needs as the Father showed Him. Recollecting that I belong to Him and that I’m here to serve Him does increase my affection for Him. It ignites my imagination, and brightens my hope. What joy that brings!
“My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me.” —General Stonewall Jackson
I love the simplicity of his statement. It doesn’t matter what situation I find myself in or how awful my circumstances; I am secure in God’s plan for my life. I have only to trust God and pursue knowing Him. I also admire how people of previous generations were prepared for death. They did not fear it or try to prevent it; they continued their calling and everyday tasks, striving unto death and the promise of Heaven. I first heard this quote when I was a young teenager, and it had a profound impact on my perspective of the peace that comes from trusting God in all situations, no matter if I find myself in the most frightening of places or snug in my bed.
“God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.” —Charles Spurgeon
One of the greatest blessings of being part of this ministry has been the wonderful, godly people I have worked with over the years. Kathy Norquist, then Randy’s assistant and now one of our board members, shared a variation of this quote with me years ago, when I was facing challenging circumstances: “When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.” How delightful to realize this saying originated with the wise wordsmith and preacher Charles Spurgeon.
There have been many times in my life when I have not understood what God is doing. Some reasons for some circumstances have become clear over time, but others remain a complete mystery, and likely will until I’m face to face with Jesus. It’s not always easy, but there is great peace in knowing that even when understanding is elusive, I can trust my good and faithful Savior to do what is best for me and brings Him glory. This reminds me of another favorite quote:
“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.” —John Piper
“…were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.” —J. I. Packer, Knowing God
Packer’s three-word summary of the New Testament rightly instructs my thinking each time I repeat it in thought and in prayer, lifting my gaze from self and performance, to grace and the Godhead. For I am His adopted son only through the wrath-bearing sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It is finished. He is risen. I am forgiven. All glory to our King!For more quotes, see Randy's book It's All About Jesus: A Treasury of Insights on Our Savior, Lord, and Friend.