Another valuable teaching from my "friend," Elisabeth Elliot:
We say that we are willing to follow Jesus. Peter said he would go with Him to prison and to death, not expecting that either would likely be required. Let us settle it once and for all--to follow Him will mean death. Not crucifixion in the literal sense, probably, but the coming to the end of ourselves, our expectations, our dreams. He must bring us to that end in order to bring us to the beginning of the Christ-life. "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live," was Paul's testimony (Gal 2:20 AV).
But does this mean none of my hopes will be fulfilled? Is it all wilderness and sorrow? The people of Israel must have asked this while en route to Canaan. Must we follow so far? And when they were desperate for water, God led them to Marah where the water was bitter. Terrible disappointment. But then--the miracle of the tree that made it sweet!
How far shall we go with Him who calls us to fellowship with Himself? Shall we stop dead in our tracks if the water is bitter? Shall we turn tail and run if we glimpse a cross? "Whoever cares for his own safety is lost" (Mt 16:25 NEB). Think of missing the miracle of the water. Think of missing the resurrection.
Savior Christ, I want to go the whole way. Keep me from faltering today. Show the tree that transforms bitter water, and help me to live in its shade.