“Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. ” –Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest (4/5) from the Quotable Oswald Chambers.
… and the road seems winding, shrouded in clouds. I am in the right place. My heart is right. I am willing, and waiting. Yet there are so many things I do not understand. Sigh. Have you ever felt that way?
In My Utmost for His Highest today, September 12, it seems as though Oswald Chambers is speaking to me (the green highlights are mine):
“Going Through Spiritual Confusion”
Jesus answered and said, ’You do not know what you ask’ —Matthew 20:22
There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.
The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father – as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. “Everyone who asks receives . . .” (Luke 11:10). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.
The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8). “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.
So I remain in my cloud of confusion – knowing He is faithful, waiting with confidence and anticipation, standing firm, and trying to remember that it is probably NOT all about ME.
Courage dear friends, you who walk in darkness with me. The sun will rise again.
Every morning I holler and wait on my daughter, who is never ready when it’s time to go. Regardless of whether she got out of bed 5 minutes ago or an hour ago, she’s just not ready. She brushes her hair, puts on her earrings, ties her shoes, and eats breakfast in the car… She comes when I call, but she’s not ready. It feels like I spend half the day waiting on that girl to get ready.
When God called to Moses in Exodus 3:4 Moses said “Here I am” and he was ready. Even after 40 years of tending sheep in the wilderness, Moses had not lost his readiness.
Oswald Chambers wrote about this last week (4/18). “When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go.”
That’s me, always telling God where I’d like to go, what I’d like to do. It’s hard to listen to Him when I’m always talking!
“Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.”
That’s me again, I’m looking to do something big, important for God. Let’s go storm the castle!
“Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty. Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing— it makes no difference.”
Obscure duty, small things. Hmm. Not so glamorous. Be he who is faithful in the small things, will be given even greater responsibility. The small things do matter, I just don’t like the fact that they are obscure. Not noticed. But still important.
“It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready. Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready— he is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called!”
Oh Lord Jesus, help me to BE ready to do WHATEVER you call me to do.
* My Utmost for His Highest, free online at http://utmost.org
Have you ever read Oswald Chambers’ biography? Did you know that he was only 43 when he died?! And he had already been a Bible college professor for 10 years, and died of a ruptured appendix in Egypt during WWI where he (and his wife and 4 year old daughter!) were ministering to British troops. Sobering thought,eh? How did he have so much wisdom and insight at such a “young” age? And what does that say about us?!
Chambers was never famous while living but, by God’s sovereign plan, married a court stenographer who kept an exact record of all his speeches and published them after his death. Hmmm. I love the man all the more.
Sometimes I jump up and down and tell God “I want to do something fantastic for you!” But what usually happens is that I get up in the morning, stare blankly at my coffee cup, pack my kids’ lunches, stand at the bus stop in my PJs, make a grocery list, fold laundry… you know what I’m sayin’?
Here’s what Chambers says about our “ordinary lives”:
“Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different… It does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.” (Oct 21)
Amen to that!I am having one of those seasons where my life is a bit chaotic and I am struggling to process and stay focused (I know, this never happens to you!).
In this season, I am grateful for the inspiring voice of prophets calling in the wilderness … and I may share a few more of Chambers’ thoughts with you. May we, as leaders and teachers, never get trapped into thinking we need to reinvent the wheel! Let us be focused on doing the simple things of today – and doing them well, always listening for the voice of God in case He has something to say to us.
“Our Lord call us to no special work, He calls us to Himself.” (Oct 16)
You can read Chambers’ biography and My Utmost for His Highest here http://utmost.org/