Week 50 – Celebrating 100 Years of Oswald Chambers
VERSE: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
OSWALD: “If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed…
The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been struggling for utterance in you.” – (My Utmost for His Highest, December 15th)
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How It Spoke to Me…
I’ll never forget the night God confirmed His call on my life to write. Up to that point, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of writing a book.
I’d always loved reading, but the thought of writing anything beyond church newsletters seemed a task better suited to those who had degrees in journalism or creative writing. Or those precocious kids who spent their childhood creating neighborhood newspapers or writing entire book series in crayon.
There had been small stirrings for a couple of years, however. During my quiet time journaling, essays and article-type entries had been spilling occasionally onto the page. Unexpected, they were kind of fun. At times, they were even poignant.
One essay was inspired by a dear man in our former church in Grants Pass, Oregon. Charlie was one of the wheelchair-bound residents the church bussed in every week from a local nursing home. Though disabled, he brought quiet joy with him each Sunday.
“How are the kids?” he’d always ask with a smile as I bent down to give him a hug.
I’d assure him they were well, then ask how he was doing. Though he’d experienced a stroke leaving him paralyzed on one side, Charlie never complained. Instead, each week as he sat in his wheelchair on the front row and worship.
With one good hand raised as far as it would go, tears would run down his cheek as he sang praises to God.
A few months after resigning our position and moving to Montana, we heard that Charlie had died. We also learned something we didn’t know – Charlie had no family.
No one to bury him. No friends beyond the ones he’d made at the nursing home.
This man, who could have easily become bitter in his old age, had somehow remained soft and tender before the Lord. His focus always on others, not on himself. Charlie was a treasure – a gift easily missed if you weren’t looking carefully.
As I journaled about this incredible man, an essay developed. A piece I felt compelled to publish. With a friend’s help, I sent the manuscript to my denominational magazine, and they accepted it. I thought that would be the end of it. I had no idea that article would be the start of a writing career. But Jesus did.
You can read more about “My Writing Journey” here
Over the next several years, God continued to give me things in my journal, along with a growing desire and definite call to write. (A story I’ll save for another time.)
It hasn’t been an easy journey, however. In some ways, writing is the hardest thing I do. Starting out, I think I expected writing to be a little like holy dictation…
“What’s that, Lord?” I’d ask looking to the sky, face aflush with divine inspiration.
“Was that an ‘and’ or a ‘but’ You wanted me to write?”
Writing, for me, feels more like an audacious act of faith. Prayerfully trusting that God is in the words I type on the page, which, at times can be a real struggle.
But it’s a battle worth fighting. For as Oswald Chambers describes in the December 15th entry of My Utmost for His Highest.
If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily — “I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say,” the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to re-state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God’s truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.
Perhaps it’s this last part that resonates with me most – especially as I begin writing my new book…
The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been struggling for utterance in you.
Some people say that if you’re truly in God’s will, it should be easy. That you should always “feel His pleasure” like Eric Lidell did when he ran. But I’ve found that isn’t always the case.
Instead, following God’s call on your life can be the most difficult thing you’ll ever do. But after you’ve done it…after you’ve been willing to “go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed” in order to express what He’s given you…
Well, that’s when fulfillment comes.
For in your obedient struggling, God is able to pass on the “wine of strengthening…. to someone else through you.”
Do You Want to Write a Book?
Perhaps you feel a stirring to write a book, but don’t know where to begin. I’m excited to introduce you to “WRITE THAT BOOK” – a new Facebook subscription group led by my good friend, Tricia Goyer!
Here’s a little more about the group…
Imagine if you were friends with a successful author willing to show you the ropes. Tricia Goyer is that friend. The author of more than 70 books, she’s the writing coach you’ve been looking for and she’s ready to help you:
- Action steps from a pro-author (she really is!)
- Access to industry experts (this is amazing, you guys!)
- Time-saving tips. Real-life success (who doesn’t want this!)
Tricia combines her experience with the experience of other authors and publishing industry experts to give you action steps that help you move your writing forward. Actually writing! Not just thinking or talking about writing.
Learn more at WRITE THAT BOOK.
[Just so you know, I’m not an affiliate – I simply believe in Tricia’s ability to help you get real results.]
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Read WEEK 51 – “Trusting God’s Work in Others” >>
What is God asking you to do that feels hard and overwhelming? I’d love to pray for you…