Joe Bayly on knowing God's will (1)

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:

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Yep. So much of my attention in my younger years was on figuring out God’s will for my life (in particular, who I would marry). It led to a lot of paralysis, and not much holiness. I see the same thing in spades with the inmates I minister to. I am thankful for my pastor emeritus’s continual emphasis of Deuteronomy 29:29. I wish I had paid better attention to it before.

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I hope I’m not veering too far off from the topic of this post, but the post came up as my husband and I have been discussing the book I just finished reading- Devotedly, The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. There is much emphasis on God’s will in the book, but I was taken aback by how often it’s treated as some mystical thing that is between them alone and God. For example, Valerie Elliot Shepard writes,
“Though no one could seem to understand why they weren’t getting engaged and making plans to go to the mission field together- or, if not, why they weren’t just leaving each other alone- she knew she’d put God first and knew my father was attempting to do the same thing…And as long as God’s will was uppermost in each of their hearts, they were under no obligation to explain themselves to anyone or give out all the details of their prayer life and relationship dynamics.”
It’s been years since I read Passion and Purity, and I hope to pull that out (it’s packed away at the moment as we’re in the middle of moving) to see how Elisabeth reflected on all of this years later. I’ve always appreciated her writing and had a lot of respect for her. Although I knew some of their story, I guess I didn’t realize or had forgotten how much Jim’s behavior towards Elisabeth and even her response at times seemed unwise. Elisabeth’s brother and others warn Jim to be careful of hurting Elisabeth and he again and again lays the responsibility on her to break things off if she can’t handle it. So on and on goes this relationship with no marriage in sight because he thinks he’s going to be a single missionary. Then they get engaged (finally!), but think it may be years before they can get married, all the while they’ve obviously deepened their expressions of romance. They seem very sincere in wanting to seek God’s will, but it also seems like some clear expressions of God’s will (it is better to marry than to burn, for instance!) are ignored. This doesn’t seem to jive with what I recollect of Elisabeth’s writings, but it’s been a long time since I first read some of her books.
Has anyone else read this book yet?