September 23, 2012

If you would bear..

Gravel crunches softly into red clay under my flip flops. Two horses and a donkey acknowledge my passing with their eyes.

My canvassing team is gone to church. Lorina and I have succumbed to the flu and have spent the last day and a half shaking with fever.

She's asleep now, and I am dutifully experiencing the healing properties of sunshine.

My head is busy processing many things.

A deep, inner sense of loneliness quietly throbs somewhere in my subconscious. I know it won't last long. I won't allow it. But today it's there, keeping me company as I rest against the John-Deere colored gate.

I sigh and deliberately find other thoughts. Happier thoughts. I think of the woman on Thursday who glanced up at me with a hungry, searching gaze as I told her with much conviction that Peace Above the Storm would show her how to have Jesus power to live Jesus life "because there's no other way we can do it otherwise."
Though a single mother with a full-time job, and a full class load, she unhesitatingly wrote out a check for the full amount of the books she chose, handing it to me in tears and embracing me, thanking me for coming.

I think of her neighbor, the gentle Vietnam veteran in the broken-down house, who softly told me story after story of pain, listened with thoughtful attention as I shared a few simple words of hope in Jesus, and then handed me a crisp $100 bill. "I want to help you," he said. As he prayed with me before I left, his voice choked, "God, grown men aren't supposed to cry" he prayed, "but I'm unashamed. You've touched me today."

And I am broken. What do they see? Certainly not this tarnished vessel. I've been canvassing long enough to know that nothing about my smile, my manner, my listening ear, or my love can evoke responses like these. Only Jesus can touch hearts.

And I understand it now better than ever before.

If you would save others, you cannot save yourself. If you would bear much fruit, you must be buried in darkness and solitude.
–Streams in the Desert, Sept. 21

It is when we face those trials that we cannot glory in for they are the results of our own foolish self-loving choices (1 Peter 2:20) that self is most utterly humiliated.

And it is when self is most utterly humiliated that service is most effective.


  1. That last line... Actually the last 3 paragraphs...

    Exactly. what. I. needed.

    Thanks, Skeppers. :)

    1. Should have added one more line.. Cause it's when service is most effective that joy is most full. :)

  2. Hey Beth, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your amazing Canvassing experiences! They have been such an inspiration to me! I would LOVE to get into this work somehow... I've been praying about it for many months, telling God that I can't do this on my own, and if He wants me to do it, He will remove every mountain in the path... sometimes He seems to do it a pebble at a time, but I'm learning to trust His timing is always perfect! =) I've been reading through the book "Colporteur Ministry" by Mrs. White, and it has given me such a fire for this work! Praying the Lord will bless your work abundantly! =)

  3. Praise the Lord, sister! This work is the joy and passion of my life. That doesn't by any means mean that I always feel like doing it, or that I'm never nervous, but the joy never fails to come when you go forward with Jesus. Any of my canvassing friends will confirm that! I can totally relate about reading CM too! That book is so motivating. And I can very easily help you get in a program whenever you like! Shoot me an email and we can work out the details. :) livinghigher at gmail

  4. I will say this too, there is hardly any ministry better suited to aiding in overcoming sin, in learning how to have moment-by-moment dependence on Jesus, how to pray in faith, how to understand people, how to persevere, how to think like Jesus.. You name it, you'll learn it canvassing! It basically is miracle-gro for your spiritual life, lol.

  5. I must also add that those last three paragraphs are just what I need. It makes the darkness I'm dealing with so much more bearable, if it might be the means of humiliating me to the point where I might actually be useful... Thanks for the encouraging thoughts!

    1. Mmm... Praise the Lord, my brother! Your words make the pain I'm going through much more bearable as well. :) It awes me to think that His love is big enough to even use my ugliest, most self-filled mistakes to make something worthy, honorable and beautiful.
      Courage to you, brother... Psalm 68:13
      Don't stray from the mercy seat. ;)