As if giving myself to Elizabeth Prentiss were not enough, I've started reading Frances Ridley Havergal's devotional.
I cannot sigh deeply nor contentedly enough in a blog post to begin to communicate how comfortable and at home I feel reading these two ladies. Prentiss is a gorgeous Puritan sweetheart and Havergal is a fiery Arminian (sounding) dervish. Both of them hail from a day when love to Christ was expected to pour out from one's hands and feet, when a man was only a man if he were holy in deed and thought. They set the bar too high for me, and assure me Christ can make up the difference. Their words are so different from anything I hear in this age, and there is a tinkling of gold in hearing them.
I've not yet handed out all 15 copies I bought of "Stepping Heavenward," but I'm getting closer.
As I read Havergal the other night, she said one of the simplest things to a reader she imagined was under the conviction of the Spirit. She said that Jesus calls, and if Jesus calls you don't you believe it is safe to come?
And she is so right.
The thing is, He does not quit calling just because we go and "get saved." He calls us forward into and through the most frightening of nights. He calls us to stop and wait in the loneliest of deserts. He calls us to plunge off cliffs in the dead of night once in a great while. And in those times, we doubt whether it's Him calling or whether our mind is just playing tricks in the silence again. Sometimes we know it's Him.
One afternoon he called Peter to take and eat of the unclean food. We underplay that. We don't understand it. He might well have asked one of us to raw chicken, eggs and fish left in a warm broth on the dash of a car for two days in the Georgia summer. The food was unclean. And it was not only his stomach or his life that might be put at risk, but his relationship to God - forever.
Jesus called him. It was safe.
The fear of offending Him Whom we love wrenches our bowels, but His blood has covered our offense. The fear of appearing before Him undoes us, but His righteousness has covered our nakedness. We fail to reach even that level of wisdom we can grasp, but He bears fruit in us anyway.
When Jesus calls us, it is safe.