God is all about the process…
Week 30 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
VERSE: “And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side…” Mark 6:45-52
OSWALD: “We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not…What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.” – (My Utmost for His Highest, July 28th)
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How It Spoke to Me…
Do you suffer from an unhealthy “success syndrome”?
I certainly have – especially during the early years of ministry. I had big dreams of doing something significant for God. After all, that’s what they told me would happen at youth camp – at least, that’s how I interpreted it.
“God is going to use you in amazing ways – you’re going to change the world!”
Unfortunately, that’s not how it went down. Rather than blessing John and I with immediate success in ministry, God in His wisdom took us another route. For He knew that the “call” can be fancy food for the flesh. Even the purest motives can become entangled with “selfish ambition and vain conceit” (Philippians 2:3).
In our first years as youth pastors in Libby, Montana, it wasn’t unusual to set up 30 or 40 chairs for youth group, only to have 30-35 empty ones.
One sad Wednesday night there were just three of us – John, myself and the pastor’s son. And he didn’t want to be there. It was tutelage in one of the most difficult lessons of life:
Learning how to be “faithful in little” is hard – but crucial if we ever hope to be “faithful in much.”
This lesson was repeated nearly a decade ago as we said goodbye to a church we loved without knowing where we would go or what God would have us do. For a year and a half we waited for direction. Gone was the busy calendar, the full-time ministry. Gone was the title and position. We just belonged to Jesus.
It was a sweet and wonderful undoing.
Rather than fussing and fretting over not knowing, rather than dreaming and scheming about the next position of ministry, we simply waited on God. It wasn’t an easy time, but it was rich as God showed us how to rest in Him.
One morning during devotions, I read the July 28th entry and the following words:
“[God’s] purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God… that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea.” – My Utmost for His Highest
It so described the peaceful trust that I’d been experiencing, I immediately started to cry.
In my journal I wrote this response: “This moves me so deeply, Lord! It’s what You’ve been doing in me – helping me see You in all things – both the good and the bad. I feel like a little girl jumping up and down in glee, shouting – ‘I did it, Daddy! I did it!’ But not only that, I think I finally ‘get it!’”
“Seal this work in my heart and life,” I prayed. “Don’t let me lose this heavenly perspective. I don’t want to go back to my old way of life, fearful and frustrated, angry at injustice and desiring to control…”Help me see You so clearly walking on the chaos of my situation that I leap out of the imagined safety of my boat and run unhindered on the water with You. Click To Tweet
After these many years, I can honestly say I’m grateful God hasn’t followed the agenda I had in mind when I said yes to His call. I’m glad He didn’t reward the driveness of my early years with the success I so desperately craved. For in the denial, He’s been weaning me from the addictive milk of self-importance. With His help, I no longer NEED to do something significant for Him.
Instead, I want Him to do something significant IN me. The likeness of Christ – His character – His presence of His Spirit. Filling me and changing me.
For that’s been God’s purpose all along.
<<Read WEEK 29 – “Changed From the Inside Out”
Read WEEK 31 – “Learning to Overcome | Guest Hannah Keeley” >>
I’d love to hear from you…Where do you need to see Jesus walking on the water in your life?