Psalm 84:11-12 and Eric Liddell

(From D. A. Carson’s For the Love of God for May 29:)

But what about the last two verses of Psalm 84? Don’t they go over the top, promising too much? The psalmist insist that God withholds “no good thing” from those whose walk is blameless…

Consider Eric Liddell, the famous Scottish Olympian celebrated in the film Chariots of Fire. Liddell became a missionary in China. For ten years he taught in a school, and then went farther inland to do frontline evangelism. The work was not only challenging but dangerous, not the least because the Japanese were making increasing inroads. Eventually he was interned with many other Westerners. In the squalid camp, Liddell was a shining light of service and good cheer, a lodestar for the many children there who had not seen their parents for years, a self-sacrificing leader. But a few months before they were released, Liddell died of a brain tumor. He was forty-three. In this life he never saw the youngest of his three daughters: his wife and children had returned to Canada before the Japanese sweep that rounded up the foreigners. Didn’t the Lord withhold from him a long life, years of fruitful service, the joy of rearing his own children?

Perhaps the best response lies in Liddell’s favorite hymn:

Be still, my soul! the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul! thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

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