I learned in the forward of this book, that Dr. Roseveare was asked to write this book for students. Her comments in this section also capture the spirit of the book when she says,
...the word sacrifice could only truly be employed in direct reference to our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered “death upon the cross for our redemption….” We, God’s children by adoption, have the privilege to respond, in overwhelming gratitude and love, by rendering to Him “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” (1 Pet. 2:5). (Pg 6)
Did you notice that word privilege show up again. It is everywhere in her writing. As you read through the book you will notice how willing she is to give of her entire self to serve the one who died in her place. Talk about applying the gospel to all of you life! It is such a simple and life altering truth – give all of yourself to the one who gave himself for you. Simple, but not easy. At times, as we see in the life of Dr. Roseveare, giving of yourself comes at a great cost. And God has the right to demand those great costs from us, right? I won’t answer that question for you, but I would encourage you to read the prologue to this book entitled ‘His Right to Demand’ (I guess we know what her answer would be!).
There are several stories in the prologue that will capture your attention. One in particular, which I won’t share much of, is about a little boy name Paul who was willing to endure beatings from rebel solider in light of what Christ did for him. What I will share as I close this post is the analogy Dr. Roseveare uses to drive home her point that we are to be willing sacrifices in the hands of God, or as she puts it in her subtitle, that we should be willing to be whittled as an arrow. The story basically goes that there were these birds in the village they lived in that were causing major issues, so they paid the kids in the village to shot them down! They used arrows to shoot them, and to make the arrows they needed to pull the branches off of some of the most beautiful trees in the village (the trees did not serve any other purpose, other than being beautiful and attracting tourists). “This wanton act of destruction might seem a senseless waste of God-givien beauty” says Dr. Roseveare, but listen to the way she applies to God’s work in her life in the midst of some very difficult circumstances,
Could I see that God wanted to transform my life from a somewhat ugly, useless branch (once all the flowers and leaves were ripped off!) to an arrow, a tool usable in His hands, for the furtherance of His purposes?…To be thus transformed, was I willing – am I still willing – for the whittling, sandpapering, stripping process necessary in my Christian life? The ruthless pulling off of leaves and flowers mights include doing without a television set or washing machine, remaining single in order to see a job done, re-evaluating the worthiness of the ambition to be a “good” doctor….The snapping off of thorns might include drastic dealing with hidden jealousies and unknown pride, giving up prized rights in leadership and administration. The final stripping of the bark might include lessons to be learned regarding death to self – self-defence, self-pity, self-justification, self-vindication, self-sufficiency, all the mechanisms of preventing the hurt of too-deep involvement. Am I prepared for the pain, which at times may seem like sacrifice, in order to be made a tool in His service? My willingness will be a measure of the sincerity of my desire to express my heartfelt gratitude to Him for His so-great salvation. (Pg 26-27)
An arrow in the hand of an Almighty God. It is a glorious thought, but as we shall continue to see in the life of Dr. Roseveare (and in our own lives), it comes at a cost. Are we willing?