VERSE: “When they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples.” Mark 4:34
OSWALD: “It is slow work, so slow that it takes God all time and eternity to make a man and woman after His own purpose. The only way we can be of use to God is to let Him take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride. Jesus reveals to us all that this body has been harbouring before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look in with courage?” (January 13th)
MY THOUGHT: How many of us have learned to look in with courage? I’ve been thinking a lot about that question this past week. It’s the new year, and as I do each January, I’ve been asking the Lord to change me, to make me more like Him.
But a chance comment by my husband made me realize that while I want to change, I don’t necessarily want to face the hard questions transformation usually requires. I’d rather just pray a blanket prayer stating my vague, yet passionate desire to be different than deal in any specifics.
Unfortunately, when we do that, we rarely see the things we need to see. “We do not know envy when we see it, or laziness, or pride,” Oswald points out. All because we’ve refused to allow God to “take us through the crooks and crannies of our own characters.” Crooks and crannies we’d prefer to remain hidden and unexplored.
After reading that “crooks and crannies” line to my friend, Angela, while working together the other day, she immediately responded without looking up, “We’re like English muffins.” She stated it like a fact.
To be honest, at first I didn’t get the correlation. But then I remembered how perfect English muffins appear to be on the outside. Lightly toasted brown, they are smooth except for a cornmeal dusting. It isn’t until you open up one that you see how imperfect they are. Filled with bubble-shaped holes perfect for holding melted butter and raspberry jam, the marred muffin is made up of more air than bread. Which might be okay in a muffin, but you certainly don’t want it in a life.
Back to the chance comment. After noticing some strange eating habits at a local restaurant, John asked me if he had any annoying tendencies when he ate. Gratefully, he doesn’t, and I told him so. But rather than keep the conversation going by saying, “what about me?” I allowed the moment to pass for fear he might take the opportunity to point out a few.
In my reluctance to be vulnerable and teachable, I realized how my pride keeps me from asking for perspective – not always, not even often. But I’ve had to admit there are some topics I tend to sidestep whenever the Holy Spirit begins to whisper in my heart. Excuses I default to whenever conviction arises in a certain area, or God asks me for something I’m not quite willing to give.
But if I want to know God completely and be made wholly complete, I’m going to have to give Him access to every corner of my heart. Every hidden crook. Every heavily-guarded cranny. So that He might fill the holes – the more-air-than-substance places in my soul – with the fullness of Himself.
For that is what He promises to do. If I’ll only have the courage to look deeply within.