Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thoughts On Oswald Chambers

The following is Feb. 22nd's entry in My Utmost For His Highest.

"Be still, and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10)

"Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for -- love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men -- will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.

"If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, 'because you have kept My command to persevere...' (Revelation 3:10).

"Continue to persevere spiritually." (emphasis mine)

This would be the second time in a week that that verse from Psalm has come up. Two very different situations, and even somewhat different applications. Yet the message remains the same. It's two fold. Be still and know that I am God. "Be still," to me, says to be quiet. To stop going, stop talking, stop moving, even stop thinking so much, and simply listen. It's good to talk to God, ask for His help, share with Him that which I desire, but it's just as important to stop and actually listen for His answers. Crucial even.

"Know that I am God." Ok, He's God. What does it mean to know that? I don't think in the typical way that we know something intellectually, but more in the sense that we are to trust in who He is. Trust in His power, His knowledge, His presence. For He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent (all/ever present). We are to trust that He is far more capable of handling the problems in our lives than we are, given we bring them before Him. We are to entrust our hurts, cares, worries, and joys to Him, and simply let them be.

Our hopes, too, are to be entrusted to Him. And as Oswald so perfectly puts it, "But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God." Waiting is always the hardest part (I do believe there's a song for that statement, and it's running through my head). Reality is, we want our hopes, our dreams, to be a reality, but we want them to be instantaneously met, no waiting. Yet, it is that waiting that purifies them, forms them more into God's will, instead of them simply being our own. God works on us during that time of waiting, often to bring us into alignment with Him, and to bring our hopes into alignment with His plan for us. The hope doesn't change, but is, instead, perfected, and thus creates more joy than if it had been granted as it was, without His purifying work.

And such as feels to be my life at the moment. I find myself in a place of disappointed hopes. However, I can see that they are merely being purified and perfected to God's will, His good, pleasing and perfect will.

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