Glorious Frustration?

Weight of Glory

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed
two days longer in the place where he was.
… Did I not tell you that if you believed
you would see the glory of God?
John 11:5-6, 40 ESV

The frustration that Mary and Martha felt towards Jesus over the illness and death of their brother, Lazarus, was shared by the disciples. For the disciples, there was the added irritation that not only, after three days, would Lazarus be dead, but also that Jesus would be putting himself, and them, at risk if they went to Bethany. Their courage was not in question even if their faith was, as Thomas showed when he said to the others, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16 ESV). How do we deal with our frustration at events and circumstances, at the behavior of others or even, at times, with the behavior of God Himself? This first of three brief posts on the theme of frustration comes from C. S. Lewis.

C. S. Lewis wrote: “The second enemy [of the scholar in war-time] is frustration – the feeling that we shall not have enough time to finish. If I say to you that no one has time to finish, that the longest human life leaves a man, in any branch of learning, a beginner, I shall seem to you to be saying something quite academic and theoretical. You would be surprised if you knew how soon one begins to feel the shortness of the tether, of how many things, even in middle life, we have to say, ‘No time for that,’ ‘Too late now,’ and ‘Not for me.’ But Nature herself forbids you to share that experience. A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the lord’. It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

From C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory.

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Just wait?

Utmost

If we begin our life as a disciple of Jesus under the delusion that it is a life we have been called to because of some quality we possess; leadership skills, talents, an ability to persist with any task that we ‘set our mind to’, we, like the apostle Peter, may face some sifting along the way. Did it never occur to us just how messy a life of genuine discipleship looks? Even Peter found just staying awake to pray with Jesus for one hour proved too difficult. Talk about missed opportunities for ministry! This third brief post on the theme of waiting for God comes from Oswald Chambers…  

 ‘Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 ESV

“Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a disciple has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for – love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men – will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o’-the-wisps.  Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted. If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God.  Remain spiritually tenacious.”

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Waiting?

morning-and-evening-cover

Previously (Jul/Aug 2015) Patience was the theme of three brief posts. Patience may or may not imply that we are actively ‘waiting’ for something or some-one. When we have lost hope, patience may just imply silent, uncomplaining suffering, but while we keep hope, especially in God’s grace and power, and we wait for Him, that implies so much more. This first of three brief posts on the theme of Waiting for God comes from Charles Spurgeon…

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

Isaiah 30:18 ESV

Spurgeon wrote…

“God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that “the thorn in the flesh” might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but, instead … a promise that God’s grace should be sufficient for him.

If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in? Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting.

Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus….

Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.”

From C H Spurgeon in Morning and Evening

Patient tenaciously?

Utmost
It’s the thing about a hero that they win in the end.
Having a trustworthy hero can change the way we
face the past, the present and the future if only we
are able to outwait the doubts about him that each
new peril we face creates in our minds and hearts.
This first of 3 brief posts on the theme of patience
comes from Oswald Chambers.

‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Psalm 46:10

‘Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a disciple has is not that he will be damned but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for-love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men-will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o’-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted. If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. Remain spiritually tenacious.’
‘Because you have kept my word about patient endurance…’ Revelation 3:10 ESV

From Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest