the sustenance they require

I (Donna) have been re-reading Isobel Kuhn’s Green Leaf in Drought, which is her recounting the story of Arthur and Wilda Mathews and their last days serving in China.

I remember being struck by a number of things when I read it the first time, but in searching for a particular section that had been meaningful the first time I had read it, I ran across this, which blew me away, and which I’m still trying to process [from a letter Arthur wrote to Bob Ament, March 12, 1952]:

We are certainly learning that the man who really lives does not live by bread alone…  In our Lord’s temptation the point was to assail Him along the line of complete, willing submission to the appointment of place, circumstances, and methods of God’s will… which, coming down to our level, means that for us… to deny ourselves that complete submission and sheer trust is to deny our spirits the sustenance they require, and will reduce us to living by bread alone – which is not living, but starvation.

To deny our spirits the sustenance they require is not living, but starvation.  And that sustenance being complete, willing submission…  I think I may have been choosing starvation, not even realizing it.

In another place (the one I was looking for when I started re-reading), Arthur was telling of how he had been submitting, but with less than willingness, and that he had realized he wanted to delight in submitting… To delight in submitting – yes, the analogy of living vs. starvation is vivid indeed.

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