Sunday, July 22, 2007

Stepping Heavenward

I have been re-reading a book called, Stepping Heavenward - One Woman's Journey to Godliness by Mrs. E. Prentiss.

This book was written by Elizabeth Prentiss. She lived during the 1800's. This book was first published in 1869.

This book is written in the form of diary entries starting when the main character is 16 years old and records her thoughts, trials, joys, and experiences through her life.

I am finding that the book has some thought provoking entries, so I have decided to post these as I come to them.

Katherine (Katy) has been struggling to "be a good Christian" but always seems to fall short as she does things in her own strength. This passage comes from one of the conversations with her preachers about her new found faith/walk with the Lord and her struggles in that walk:

"'Poor child!' he said in a low voice, as if to himself 'Poor, heartsick, tired child that cannot see what I can see that its Father's loving arms are all about it!'

I stopped crying to strain my ears to listen. He went on. 'Katy, all that you say may be true. I dare say it is. But God loves you. He loves you.'

He loves me, I repeated to myself. He loves me. 'Oh, Dr. Cabot, if I could believe that! If I could believe that, after all the promises I have broken, all the foolish, wrong things I have done and shall always be doing, God perhaps still loves me!'

'You may be sure of it,' he said solemnly. 'I, His minister, bring the gospel to you today. Go home and say over and over to yourself, "I am a wayward, foolish child. But He loves me! I have disobeyed and grieved Him ten thousand times. But He loves me! I have lost faith in some of my dearest friends and am very desolate. But He loves me! I do not love Him; I am even angry with Him! But he loves me!'

I came away; and all the way home I fought this battle with myself, saying, 'He loves me!' I knelt down to pray, and all my wasted, childish, wicked life came and stared me in the face. I looked at it and said with tears of joy, 'But He loves me!' Never in my life did I feel so rested, so quieted, so sorrowful, and yet so satisfied." (pgs 58-59)

*Have you ever had this struggle within yourself? Condemning yourself for all your mistakes and failed attempts to please God? Please know that once you accept God's son, Jesus' sacrifice that was made so that we could be reconciled to the Father, that He loves you no matter how much you mess up! The more time we spend reminding ourselves of how great God's love is for us--not because of anything we have done ourselves--the easier it becomes to trust Him in all circumstances, and to thank Him for all the blessings (as well as trials) in our lives!

He is there with His arms wrapped around us as a loving father cuddles his child on his lap. He loves us!!

"Dr. Cabot came to see me today. I told him about it. He could not help smiling as he said: 'When I see a little infant caressing its mother, would you have me say to it, "You selfish child, how dare you pretend to caress your mother in that way? You are quite unable to appreciate her character; you love her merely because she loves you, treats you kindly.?"'

It was my turn to smile now at my own folly.

'You are as yet but a babe in Christ,' Dr. Cabot continued. 'You love your God and Savior because He first loved you. The time will come when the character of your love will become changed into one which sees and feels the beauty and the perfection of its object; and if you could be assured that He no longer looked on you with favor, you would still cling to Him with devoted affection." (pgs 61-62)

* What a great reminder that we don't have to have it all figured out right away, but that we will grow in our understanding of God's character as we go through the years in our relationship with the Lord! We should see change and growth in our relationship with the Lord every year. We will gain a greater understanding of who God is and who we are in Him as we study His Word.

May God bless you in your walk this week as you seek to learn more about who He is!

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