Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Resistez

In the late seventeenth century in France, a girl named Marie Durant was bought before the authorities, charged with Huguenot heresy. She was fourteen, bright, attractive, marriagable. She was asked to abjure the Huguenot faith. She was not asked to commit an immoral act, become a criminal or even to change the standard of her day-to-day life. She was asked to say 'j'abjure' no more no less. She did not comply, together with thirty other Huguenot women she was put in a tower by the sea...for thirty eight years. Instead of the hated words j'abjure, her and her fellow inmates scratched on the wall of the prison tower another word: resistez...resist.

We do not understand the terrifying simplicity of a religious commitment that asks nothing of time and gets nothing from time. We can not understand a faith that is not nourished by the temporal hope that tomorrow things will be better. To sit in a prison room with thirty others, and see day change into night, summer into autumn, to feel the slow systematic changes within ones flesh, the drying and wrinkling of skin, the loss of muscle tone, the stiffening of joints, the slow stupefaction of the senses...to feel all this and persevere seems almost idiotic to a generation that has no capacity to wait and endure.

Future Grace- John Piper, P171-172

Thirty eight years. I can't imagine thirty eight years. I can barely imagine twenty. To be in the same room for that long, with the same people, as your dreams for life slip away, as your memories and hopes fade., as you feel the world forgetting you and passing you by. I can't imagine it. Oh for that kind of faith that waits on God, for thirty eight years in the same room for not doing an awful lot wrong...to know that two words could set you free...That's faith in the promises of God. That's belief in Psalm 63:3. It is a terrifyingly simple request those people fulfilled...'wait'...'trust'. And yet how worth it it all would have seemed for them, when they were before Him on the Great Day. How all those minutes and hours and days must have seemed like the blink of an eye compared to what was awaiting them. Those thirty eight years would have been worth every second for them.

To have that faith, the faith thats happy to go at God's pace at wait for God where and for how long He says...to really count everything aside from Christ as loss. We can learn a lot from these people, as we thrash around hopelessly trying to persuade God that our way is better. We do not worship a God who wants us to strain or serve Him for its own sake. We worship a God who does not need to be served by human hands a Godwho will work for us as we wait for Him. He wants us to wait, to trust and follow and love, and for all things we do to be born out of that. We worship a God for whom it is worth sitting in a room for thirty eight years for, as our fleshly life passes us by. Surely this is a drastic call to focus on the promises of God, to be heavenly minded, to remember that all the best things are to come, and to let the light that shines from Jesus blind us to all the fading, dim lights that seem to sparkle from so much in the world.

1 comment:

terry said...

thanks for the reminder and cool illustration to "be still and know that he is god"!