Mary Slessor was a young single woman who left Scotland at the turn of the century to go to a part of Africa that was infested with disease and indescribable danger. But she had an indomitable spirit and kept going when lesser men and women broke down, ran, and never came back. Once, after a particularly draining day, she found herself trying to sleep in a crude jungle hut. Of that night she wrote:
“I am not very particular about my bed these days, but as I lay on a few dirty sticks laid across and covered with a litter of dirty corn-shells, with plenty of rats and insects, three women and an infant three days old alongside, and over a dozen sheep and goats and cows outside, you don’t wonder that I slept little. But I had such a comfortable quiet night in my own heart.” (Italics added) -taken from “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald.
In this book, Dr. MacDonald writes on the necessity for us to have a quiet place where all is in order, a place from which comes the energy that overcomes turbulence and is not intimidated by it.
I’m convinced this kind of “quiet energy” is experienced only when we choose to value the development and strengthening of our inner being as much as we do the outer man. Think for a moment. How much time and energy have you and I already invested in our appearance today? (Some of us could probably stand to spend a little more time in this area…get in line.)
I encourage you not to wait until the turmoil hits before you begin developing this quiet place in your heart. Just as our muscles do not strengthen overnight, neither does our inner being. It requires time, energy, and sacrifices to develop and strengthen our values, beliefs, and love for Christ and others.
I think of how God used the quietness found in Mary Slessor’s own heart to glorify Him in the hearts of many during her time in Africa…and even today, many years later. Was the time spent cultivating this kind of inner strength worth her investment? Quite frankly, I find it impossible to place a high ENOUGH value on this incredible blessing from God.
for from it flow the springs of life”