Are you looking to God’s limitless grace or to your own strength?
WEEK 8 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
VERSE: The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep.” John 4:11
OSWALD: “My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority…The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.”- (My Utmost for His Highest, February 26th and 27th – Updated)
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How It Spoke to Me…
Several years ago, I experienced one of the sweetest ministry moments of my life as 20-25 women joined together during Sunday school to go through a book called, Deceived by Shame – Desired by God by Cynthia Spell.
It was intense. Raw and rough at times, often hard to talk about. But also sweet and tender as we lowered the masks we Christians tend to wear in order to cover our pain and shame. The facades we build to camouflage the regret and resentment that wrestle within us over things we’ve done as well as things that have been done to us.
It was beautiful to watch women give God permission to invade the darkness of their pasts. Some women experienced transforming flashes of “a-ha” insight. Other hearts required a process. A slow removal of layers of deadness that they’d lived with for years.
One morning was especially difficult as we talked about the pain and shame of divorce. I could literally see women wrestling 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, hope would flicker and countenances brighten as women caught a glimpse of the beautiful life God had awaiting them. But then a shroud of heaviness would drop over their faces, suffocating and pushing hope 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 His power can turn everything Satan has meant for our evil into something God intends for our good?
We declare that God is all-powerful, mighty enough to heal and deliver other people. Yet so many of us struggle to believe that He can handle our difficult situations. Our muddled messes. Our wounded hearts.
I believe Oswald Chambers’ may have diagnosed the source of our doubt in the following assessment: “My misgivings [about God’s power] arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority.”
Because we cannot “understand” how God could bring something beautiful out of so much ugliness, or 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, “I should bring them into the light and confess them openly – ‘Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it'” (February 26). And yet…
Dear friend, our weaknesses don’t thwart Him. But our doubt can.
So I must ask: 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, their faces are never covered with shame.”
~ Psalm 34:5
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I’d love to hear from you…What are you entrusting to God to do the impossible?