Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Uncertainty and the Spiritual Life

The board of directors of Crossroads Community Church includes many blessed men and women of God. Yesterday I posted a quote from Graham Cooke that came to us via one of them. This morning another board member sent me a text:
"O.C. is a delight today. Read him if you can. Fits our walk."
"O.C." is Oswald Chambers, author of a famous day by day book entitled My Utmost for His Highest, "a daily devotional composed of 365 selections of Chamber's talks, each of about 500 words." On Sunday morning Tom Stover mentioned that he has learned more from Oswald Chambers than from many seminary professors, saying that he is "the greatest theologian I studied under, and he's been dead since 19[17]." (Go here for a link to a recording of last Sunday's worship gathering and Tom's message which begins about 28 minutes from the beginning.)

I've appreciated Oswald so much too, especially since the board member who sent me the text gave me a copy of the book. We link to his devotionals on our church website each day.

Here is what "O.C." writes for today based on a verse from John's First Epistle -
Gracious Uncertainty

…it has not yet been revealed what we shall be… —1 John 3:2

Our natural inclination is to be so precise – trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next – that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life – gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God– it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “…believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
The board member who referred me to this is right. This does fit our walk. Uncertainty builds our trust in God. Let's walk through this day and the days to come, absolutely confident that God will hold us like a little child.

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