“Surrender--stillness--a ready welcoming of all stripping, all loss, all that brings us low, low into the Lord's path of humility--a cherishing of every whisper of the Spirit's voice, every touch of the prompting that comes to quicken the hidden life within: that is the way God's human seed-vessels ripen, and Christ becomes "magnified" even through the things that seem against us. "Mine but to be still: Thine the glorious power, Thine the mighty will.”
― Lilias Trotter
"It is surrender."
- Eric Liddell to a friend on the day that he died at age 43 (source)
The film, Chariots of Fire, focuses mainly upon the literal race that Eric won, and the race which he chose not to run because of his conviction not to participate in sporting events on Sundays.
Liddell came from a missionary family and very soon after his brief Olympic career, he went to China as a missionary himself, dying in his early 40s from a brain aneurysm in a Japanese internment camp during WWII. He chose to remain in China even though the opportunity had been offered to him to leave. Liddell's heart was bound up and buried in the cause that the Lord had planted there--and the love of the Lord constrained him. He died in China.
Eric Liddell's life has whispered to me a lesson, among others, but a quiet lesson that has spoken to me softly and been impressed upon my heart over the past years, and it is this:
There are times that we run, when the gifts and abilities that God has given us put us in the "spotlight." These are the times that we choose whether the glory through the gifts that He has given us will be for us or for our Savior. We make our decision before the world's watching eyes. Eric Liddell chose to honor his Heavenly Father, and in turn, the Father richly rewarded the Scottish athlete.
What is Liddell mainly known for? His brief Olympic career. The decision that sparked controversy and debate and admiration and thought. But not much is known about what happened to him afterward.
Liddell's love and devotion for Jesus Christ brought him onto the Olympic field of victory and gave him the spiritual victory of refusing to compromise his conscience for the sake of earthly gold.
It also brought him onto the mission field. There his life was "used up" in a very different way than it had been before. We admire Eric Liddell for his courage and conviction on the Olympic field. I believe that it was that same courage and conviction that drove Liddell into China.
And there he was "buried." And there he was used quietly for the Lord's purposes--without any physical pomp or wreaths of victory or gold medals. Only spiritual ones. No one sang his praises. No one really noticed him as much.
How many of us are in a hidden place right now, buried? We have laid aside our gifts and talents for a season or are using them "non-visibly;" in some simple way we serve.
Sometimes we feel starved. We want to do something "significant," "important." We do not realize that perhaps we ARE doing the most significant thing . . .
And the Lord has buried us, spoken to us, urged us through His Spirit to lay aside our cherished gifts for awhile to be used in His service in some very quiet, unnoticed way.
So that when we do emerge from the darkness, like a seed into the spring-light--others will not see us, but Him--as the light of the great Sun is what makes the plant reflecting it a thing of beauty.
Our gifts are to reflect His pleasure. Our seasons of stillness and quietness, of "buried-ness" are to absorb His pleasure--to grow intimately closer to Him--as Paul did in the years before his ministry.
There are seasons in our lives of glory and seasons when the Lord speaks and says step back, wait, grow, be used in the quiet places.
A season of Olympic glory for Eric Liddell, then a season of quiet buried-ness in China. Both seasons greatly used by the Lord, both glorifying to Him.
And sometimes we think that we need to use all of our gifts all the time . . . but there are seasons, just as the earth bows its head in winter, quietly, humbly and submits to death . . . for the purpose of being resurrected in the spring. And all to reflect the Great Father's glory.
Oswald Chambers says,
The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.
Because whatever God's will is for us in the now, in our present season is His best.
We lay aside our glory.
Jesus laid aside His glory . . . the glory rightfully His, the glory of heaven. To become a Man. To humble himself for a season. To be buried.
Life poured from that buried Seed, resurrected, eternal, joy-filling life.
Our buried seasons will also bring forth life--
They are not wasted.
For anyone wishing to learn more about the life of Eric Liddell, I have found these to be very good resources:
- Eric Liddell: Pure Gold, by David McCasland (biography)
- Chariots of Fire (film)
You might find me on these link-ups:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, Inspire Me Monday, Literacy Musing Mondays, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, SDG Gathering, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Motivate and Rejuvenate Mondays,, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every Season, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony Tuesday, Tell His Story, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Messy Marriage, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Theology Thursdays, Children Are A Blessing, Imparting Grace, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Thought Provoking Thursday, Count My Blessings, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul Survival, Good Morning Mondays, The Weekend Brew, Blessing Counters Link Party, The HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link Up, Grace and Truth Linkup, Faith Filled Friday, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, SHINE Blog Hop, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday Link-Up, A Little R&R Wednesdays. TGI Saturdays Blog Hop. Totally Terrific Tuesday, RaRaLinkup, Word of God Speak, Booknificent Thursday