I've been reading a biography of the life of Albert Schweitzer (Albert Schweitzer: The Man and His Mind by George Scaver, 1947). My view of Dr. Schweitzer has always been a romantic tale. A brilliant man with multiple earned doctoral degrees. An accomplished organist and recognized Bach scholar, Schweitzer left the comforts of life in Europe to start a jungle hospital in West Africa.
But as radio commentator Paul Harvey would say, "now for the rest of the story." Albert Schweitzer lived a difficult life. He faced opposition from the organization under which he wanted to serve. Personal and family medical issues were a constant burden. Discouragement and a sense of failure were always looming before him. But the core of his character was one of "poverty of spirit" - recognition that life was not about him but about God. He wanted only to follow Jesus.
We often look at people who seem to be spiritual giants and think their journey must be paved with ease. Not so! The path includes swamps of sin, swords of failure, and traps of discouragement. Those who follow this path, grow on their journey in poverty of spirit. They recognize the value of failure, difficulty, pain, suffering and anguish as a chiseling of clay into Christ-like character - possessing an attitude that life is not theirown, but His.
All of us, whether remembered generations from now or not, are but clay to bechiseled. The chisel hurts -- doesn't it? But the results are for the pleasure of God as
we yield to Him. This year let us yield to His chisel. And as He chisels, let the words of King David be ours:
"Hear, O God, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. (Psalm 86:1.2)