Watching the life of someone else.... changed her own...
I once read a book that a friend gave to me as a gift. Jane Eyre is its title. In one part of the book there are two little orphan girls living in a Charity Institution. The younger girl (Jane) who has just moved into the school sees the other girl (Helen) get reprimanded and disciplined very severely by the matron for a very minor thing that she had done.
Later, when Jane is talking to Helen about her getting into such undeserved trouble, Jane says to Helen, "You must wish to leave Lowood (the place that they lived)?"
To which Helen replies, "No: why should I? I was sent to Lowood to get an education; and it would be of no use going away until I have attained that object."
Jane elaborates to Helen what she would have done quite opposite to the manner in which Helen handled herself in silence and with such grace. Jane said that she would (instead) "resist Miss Scatcherd if she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose."
And Helen reminds her that "if you did, Mr. Brocklehurst would expel you from the school; that would be a great grief to your relations. It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil."
Jane retorts to Helen's reminder, "But then it seems disgraceful to be flogged, and to be sent to stand in the middle of a room full of people; and you are such a great girl: I am far younger than you, and I could not bear it."
But. Helen again answers with wisdom, "Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear."
There are three things about this clip from this book that I liked so much, no doubt you already saw them, but I shall take liberty to elaborate on them anyway.
One) When Jane asked Helen if she wished to leave the place she lived (or in our case, the season and place in life in which we find ourselves in, the place that God currently has us), Helen responded with: "Why should I? I was sent to Lowood to get an education; and it would be of no use going away until I have attained that object."
I like that!
I like her attitude!
I like that she knew that the place she was in had purpose. That she was sent to get an education and to learn. And we, as well, are sent to our current seasons and places to learn and to be refined while we're there in our place also.... whether we particularly like the place or not... or even sometimes the people (and their attitudes or ugly) in it.
"Why should we" wish to leave and go away before we've "attained" the thing for which we were sent there? Before what was purposed in us has been accomplished? Before we've learned what we were meant to be taught? Before we were molded into the shape that the Potter has planned for us in that place? Until we've touched all the people that we were meant to touch? And before the ones that were to touch us has done touched and changed us?
Why would we wish to hurry away from the place of our "education" and learning?
Helen didn't let her "trouble" along her way take her focus from why she was there. I so like that! For we are meant to learn in all our places in life. And I wish the places that I'm sent to to be of use for me before I turn from there and leave it. I want to learn and to get all that I was sent there for. It's our tendency sometimes to rush from there when trouble strikes (however we came upon it)... but dare we not! What horror it would be if we left it a moment earlier than needed! And again as Helen put it, "... it would be of no use going away until I have attained that object."
We may not even realize the object that we were sent there to attain while we're there.... but in our haste, heaven forbid us, let's not leave there until we have indeed attained the thing we were meant to!
Two) When Jane gave Helen the advice of how she would have handled the matron that was so unrightly mean (she would have handled it in a bad way opposed to Helen's meek one), Helen reminded Jane that if she did what she had suggested that she would be expeled, and that it would bring grief to others around her... "If you did," Helen said, "Mr. Brocklehurst would expel you from the school; that would be a great grief to your relations. It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil."
Whoa at her wisdom!
Rather than to cause grief to so many in our "hasty actions" in our mad (or in our hurt feelings) when it "smarts" you alone it is better to endure it patiently! Though how many people actuallky do that? For, sadly, the consequences of our hasty actions in our 'smart' extends to hurt so many (usually all those closest to you), because we've acted so wrongly. And the biggest reason, of course. is because "the Bible bids us return good for evil."
Again... I love it! I love the simple truth of it! And the want inside me wants to always heed to it! For it if smarts me alone (as Helen said), then perhaps it has need to!!!.... for a greater working inside me than the naked eye is able to see?
Why do I want to act hastily from its sting and bring havoc and a 'smart' to all of the people around me? Why must we be prone to think of ourselves alone and not mind the trouble that our quick actions bring upon others?
Oh! that I would be like Jesus... and turn the other cheek to the one that stings! May we grow stronger in our suffering alone without casting the blow that stirs and steams and shakes others, causing an uproar and chaos to all those around us. May we remember our Leader and follow our Lord Who was led (by His enemies in His innocence) to the slaughter as silent as a lamb.... wrongly accused, wrongly persecuted, wrongly hung on a cross... without fighting back or saying a word.
And three) Jane hated the 'disgrace' of Helen being "flogged...and then sent to stand in the middle of a room full of people."
I don't blame her! For who likes to be shamed in front of anybody.... but when in front of the masses?! Not to mention the pain? But Helen seems to know God's truths and wisdom in answer to this observation as well: "... it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you
If it's unavoidable in our lives.... then it is our duty to bear it!
It's silly for us to complain and whine that we can't bear "what it is our fate to be required to bear." For if it is our fate to bear it... then God has His reasons.... There's something to be learned or refined or shaped inside us.... and His Glory to be magnified to the audience that are "fated" to watch. It isn't for us alone... but something for others to see! Can they see Him in it? in the way we handle our pain? and our shame? and in the unjust actions against us? Let's not rob ourselves, those connected to us, or our audience that stands close beside watching from seeing Him!cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear."
Why are we in the places that we find ourselves in? If it's not because of our rebellion to go there... then someOne must have sent us. there And if we were sent... then we must not leave the place until all is accomplished that was meant to be accomplished. In us. And in them.
Helen acted in the way that was right... not realizing that Jane was seeing something that she had never seen before... and that Jane would change too and be transformed into a greater likeness of her Creator, because of Helen's reaction to her pain and her shame. We often don't know the reasons why we are where we are....... but we also never know all the whos that are watching and put there to see us..... or rather to see the Jesus inside us because of how we've acted as He would.
Where is the biblical stage in this very moment in His-story that you find yourself standing upon?
What Act do you find yourself in in your story that is written as His?
Who watches you in your audience?
Who are the players with you in this scene?
And how will your character prove while you're there?
Who will it help to change?
Jane watched Helen... and became like her. Who's watching you?.... and what are they learning to be like because they do? How do you prove when the heat's on? How do you prove in your pain? in your trial? in your fire (that's meant to refine)? How do you prove in your shame? What character do you play in the role that you're casted? Are you playing it well? Are you proving true? And are you showing His face on the stage where you stand?
I found that I couldn't keep myself from sharing what I "watched" and "learned" from both Helen and Jane. I found them both upon my stage this weekend, and I've learned a lot from watching them! I've learned that I want to be more like Jesus! I've learned that I always have something to learn in the place that I'm in. I've learned that I'm to be patient and not hasty to leave my place before I've attained my purpose. I've been reminded that in my pain and in my shame that's being afflicted upon me, that I am to handle my pain with pardon and suffer my shame with grace. I've learned that others are watching, that there's an audience, and that others will learn from the way that I handle my circumstances. I've learned that what I am going through isn't just for me alone, but for those that are observing me when the heat is on. I've learned that suffering alone is to be chosen rather than my actions of haste that would down many others. I've learned that I'm being tested in that critical moment and that it matters how I respond to it... and it matters to more than just me.
Do you realize that that very thing could be one of your most important moments! In that moment of pain and shame - you've got an audience watching... and rarely do you ever even know it in the midst of it. Rarely are you conscious of the eyes watching you. This might be the very moment that impacts another's soul enough to change another's life for all eternity. What are you doing in your moment?
I want to prove true! Especially in the heat of the fiery trials that try me.... in EVERY place and season that my God puts me in! I want to be like Jesus! May I allow Him in the heat of that moment to burn in me all that isn't of Him.
Somebody's watching you.... what do they learn when they do?