Sunday, August 9, 2009

excerpts from Stepping Heavenward

“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. God 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.
(59 conversation between Dr. Cabot and Katy)

“It has been said “that a fixed, inflexible will is a great assistance in a holy life.”
You can will to choose for your associates those who are most devout and holy.
You can will to read books that will stimulate you in your Christian life rather than those that merely amuse.
You can will to use every means of grace appointed by God.
You can will to spend much time in prayer without regard to your frame at the moment.
You can will to prefer a religion fo principle to one of mere feeling; in other words, to obey the will of God when no comfortable glow of emotion accompanies your obedience.
You cannot will to possess the spirit of Christ; that must come as His gift; but you can choose to study His life and to imitate it. THsi will infallibly elad to such self-denying work as visiting teh poor, nursing the sick, giving of your time and money to the needy, and the like.
If the thought of such self-denial is repugnant to you, remember that it is enough for the disciple to be as his Lord. And let me assure you that as you penetrate the labyrinth of life in pursuit of Christian duty, you will often be surprised and charmed by meeting the Master Himself amid its winding and turnings and receive His soul-inspiring smile. Or, I should rather say, you will always meet Him wherever you go.”
(89 - letter from Dr. Cabot)

“I see how it is,” she said. “You have forgotten that body of yours, of which I reminded you, and have been trying to live as if you were all soul and spirit. You ahve been straining every nerve to acquire perfection, whereas this is god’s gift and one that He is willing to give you, fully and freely.”

“I have done seeking for that or anything else that is good,” I said despondently. “And so I have gone back to my music and everything else.”

“Here is just the rock upon which you split,” she returned. “You speak of going back to your music as if that implied going away from God. you rush from one extreme to another. The only true way to live in this world, constituted just as we are, is to make all our employments subserve the one great end and aim of existence, namely to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. But in order to do this we must be wise taskmasters and not require of ourselves what we cannot possibly perform. Recreation we must have. Otherwise, the string of our soul, wound up to an unnatural tension will break.

“Oh, I do wish, I cried, “that God had given us plain rules about which we could make no mistake.”

“I think his rules are plain,” she replied. “And some liberty of action He must leave us or we should become mere machines. I think that those who love Him and wait upon Him day by day learn His will almost imperceptibly and need not go astray.”

“But, Mother, music and drawing are sharp-edged tools in such hands as mine. I cannot be moderate in my use of them. And the more I delight in them, the less I delight in God.”

“Yes, this is human nature. But God’s divine nature will supplant it if we only consent to let Him work in us of His own good pleasure.”

(95 - conversation between Katy and her mother)

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