When I was staying in England at Labri, there was an old lady who lived across the street from the Manor House named Phil Matthews (I don’t know how she got a boys name). She had been a friend and fellow missionary associate of Amy Carmichael. I knew of Amy Carmichael because in addition to daily Bible reading, my mother often encouraged me to read biographies of great Christians and learn their stories. Amy was a women who was completely devoted to the Lord. She had learned to “Crucify her flesh” and give up her own desires for God’s desires. I had read the story of her journey. She was a very strong willed and creative girl and woman and this was not an easy road for her to take. However, she gained for more in eternal things as she daily gave her life for Christ. There is much to be learned from her life.
Phil Matthews was less known, but I believe as fully devoted to Christ. Through both of them, God brought many to Himself. When I knew her in England, it was clear she was weary of life. She was very old, her mobility was limited, and I could tell she longed to go be with her Lord. I visited her sometimes and sat with her and talked as we had tea together. I longed to gain some wisdom from her years of experience and devotion to God. Surely she could help me grow in my walk with Christ.
One day I asked her to tell me about prayer. i hoped for some gems of wisdom that would rejuvenate my prayer life and teach me much. But I was initially disappointed in the advice she gave me “Just do it” she said. ‘What! Just do it?’ I thought. But it is a lesson I have not forgotten. Many times when we want some deep mysterious secret to success in an area, we simply need to do the next thing. The thing we know is right to do. It is the law of sowing and reaping. Planting, watering, weeding, waiting are the things that yield the results. Growth takes time and God is patient with us as we grow to be more like Him. I often want results NOW. There are dozens of scriptures about waiting on the Lord, my favorite is Isaiah 40:31 “Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.”
My sister has a similar experience when she asked someone “What is the secret to a good marriage?” again, hoping for some great secret advice. The woman had been through a difficult marriage, her first husband had died, and she remarried and had a good marriage. The lady answered her “Just be good to one another.” Simple advice that encompasses the world!