Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Do the Next Thing

I came across this anonymous poem while reflecting on the life of Elizabeth Elliot and what her example and writing have meant in my life. It is one that she treasured: 

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven that,
as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.

And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’
Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.

Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.

Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.

Here are some words from Jesus: 

Matthew 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. 

This is a verse by Civilla D. Martin:

Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
 And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
 His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

This theme of "doing the next thing" is on my heart today as I prepare to leave for Haiti, departing in a week from today. 

This trip is a next step, a "next thing" as I walk with Jesus. Like all good adventures, it is full of risk, and came about unexpectedly a few months ago when my brother Stephen asked me if I could visit him. 

As a school-based therapist, I gratefully have summers off and am delighted to travel again, to sharpen my heart for God and His kingdom, to love the people I meet and learn from them. 

Next Tuesday it is San Francisco to Dallas to Miami by 12:30am and a wonderful catnap, bags tucked under my arms, till the 7am flight over to Haiti. What I picture is a month full of meeting new people and world-wide medical volunteers, soccer and therapy and hilarity with the kids, going to mass and honoring the poor in Haiti who have died, seeing what Jesus is doing now- praying for His kingdom to come and His loving will to be done! 

It is easy to live in past regrets or future excitement or anticipations, but today my "next thing" is to rest, to sit and listen to God tonight for a few moments before bed (and not just make prayer speeches at Him), and to eat a late dinner. I am thrilled for what is to come but also, with Gods help, choosing to be present here and now. 

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