A Year With Oswald – Week 44

by | Mar 4, 2012

VERSE: “Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with.” John 4:11

OSWALD: “My misgivings [about God’s power to deliver and heal] arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will be able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority…The well of your incompleteness is deep, but make the effort and look away to Him.”- (February 26th and 27th)

MY THOUGHT: For the past several months, I’ve experienced the sweetest ministry moments of my life as 20-25 women have joined together during Sunday school to go through a book called, Deceived by Shame – Desired by God (by Cynthia Spell Humbert.)

It has been intense. Raw and rough at times, often hard to talk about. But also sweet and tender as we’ve lowered the masks we Christians wear to cover our pain and our shame. The facades we build to camouflage the regret and resentment that swirl within us over things we’ve done as well as the things that have been done to us.

It has been so beautiful to watch as we’ve given God permission to invade the darkness of our past. Some women have experienced transforming flashes of “a-ha” insight. Other healings are works in progress as layers of deadness slowly slough off our hearts each week.

But this morning as we talked about the pain and shame of divorce, I watched as several women wrestled with doubt. Doubt that God could ever heal their heart, that God could ever redeem their situation – the mistakes, the heartache, the rejection, the betrayal.

For a moment I’d see hope flicker and countenances brighten, as women caught a glimpse of the beautiful life God had awaiting them. But then I’d see a shroud drop around that hope, suffocating and pushing it away as doubt reasserted its dark reign. As though “happily ever after” was possible for everyone but them.

Why is it so hard to believe that God wants to give us “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning”? That He could literally turn for good everything that Satan so clearly intended for evil?

Is it because we secretly believe God’s grace and power is limited? That there is a limited supply of grace and a lot of people with more desperate needs so it would be selfish to make our needs known? After all, the mess we’re in has been of our own making – what right do we have to expect or even hope that transforming grace might be available to us as well?

Why is it many of us boldly believe that God can heal and deliver other people, but struggle to believe His power is available for our difficult situation and our wounded heart?

I think Oswald may have diagnosed the source of such debilitating doubt in the following assessment: “My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will be able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority.”

Because we cannot “understand” how God could ever bring something beautiful out of so much ugliness or bring order out of so much chaos, we unconsciously determine that He can’t or He won’t – so we’re stuck with the hand we’ve been dealt.

“If I detect these misgivings in myself,” Oswald writes, “let me bring them to the light and confess them – ‘Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own, I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”’

For you see, what appears impossible to us is more than possible for God. Our inadequacies, failures and mistakes, both present and past, do not limit His power to save. But doubt can.

So I must ask you: Is your God “bigger than life”? Or is your life bigger than God?

“The well of your incompleteness is deep,” Oswald concludes in February 27th. Oh, how well I know that! But thank God, we haven’t been called to rely on our own resources. We’ve been called to trust in God. Rather than focusing on what we don’t have, we are called to focus on Jesus instead.

For He is our source. He is our healer. He is everything we need.

“Those who look to him are radiant,” Psalm 34:5 tells us, “their faces are never covered with shame.”

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