“Do not quarrel with your lot in life. Do not complain of its never-ceasing cares, its petty environment, the vexations you have to stand, the small and sordid souls you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be perplexed because it seems to thicken round you more and more, and ceases neither for effort nor for agony nor prayer. That is your practice…. Do not grudge the hand that is molding the still too shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful, though you see it not; and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection” (By Henry Drummond in The Greatest Thing in the World).
What an extraordinary piece of advice! Are you and I capable of not quarreling with our lot in life? Can we just deal with the old car we want to replace, the job we are tolerating, the ungrateful kids we are raising, the neighbors who disturb us in many ways, the decisions all around us with which we disagree? Are we ready to stop complaining about the “small and sordid” souls we have to live and work with? Are we ready to make a continual “practice” of letting it all go?
More importantly, can we just let God do God’s work in us without complaining because we cannot see or understand the end result? Can we stop whining about the imperfection of a life in progress – ours or the lives of those we love? Can we look at lives the way we look at the backside of a quilt in mid-creation? When that quilt is finished and revealed, we will be overwhelmed by its intricacy and beauty and by the creative force of the quilter. And as our lives progress, we will see not only the imperfect side but the beauty of that life coming to completion – and give thanks to our Creator for the excellence of the work. (Photo of quilt by Elise Blaha Cripe posted on her website)
Henry Drummond (1851 -1897) was a Scottish evangelist, biologist, writer, and lecturer. His book, The Greatest Thing in the World, illuminates the importance of 1 Corinthians 13. Widely read and quoted for decades, it has sold millions of copies and continues to influence people to follow God’s two great commandments: to love God and to love each other.