While reading Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” over coffee this morning, the author’s words seemed to jump off the page. Remember, this book was first published in 1935, just a handful of years before WW2 broke out.
“Begin with the circumstances we are in–our homes, our business, our country, the present crisis as it touches us and others–are these things crushing us? Are they badgering us out of the presence of God and leaving us no time for worship? Then let us call a halt, and get into such living relationship with God that our relationship to others may be maintained on the line of intercession whereby God works His marvels.”
If this doesn’t speak right to our current moment as a society, I don’t know what does.
Because this global pandemic has brought to a halt most of life as we know it, I’ve found myself noticing things that would have otherwise gone unseen. Are you doing this too? Like the way I feel when I think about certain people that I love dearly but haven’t seen in a while. I’ll confess that sometimes my emotions turn to an anxious tightening of my fists and heart. Other times, I feel so far from them…so far that my compassion and love is barely perceptible.
Yes, what I am describing are just emotions (and our feelings don’t always tell the truth). But they can point to places where I am not trusting the Lord with my concern for my friends and family and how this will all turn out. They can be clues that, if we are awake to the move of the Spirit in our lives, can lead us to the right order of response.
What do I mean by that? Chambers asks if these circumstances, and really, our feelings about the circumstances, are “badgering us out of the presence of God.” If you find yourself a bit more keyed in to your response to this present circumstance, if you are slowing down enough to actually notice the way your heart and mind are working together (or against!) the Holy Spirit, then you are not alone. I am here with you. I am taking note of the things that I allow to badger me out of the trust-worthy hand of my Lord.
If you are noticing a similar reaction in your own heart, it might be a good practice for us to ask together…is our lack of trust a result of not seeing God rightly?
Romans 8 gives us a glimpse of our triune God–
v. 34 “for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
v. 27 “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
This portion of scripture is a symphonic melody of the Father, Son, and Spirit flowing together in perfect accord, calling out to our anxious hearts to draw near. To pour out the worry for ourselves and for others at the feet of the Lord. To get quiet enough, and still enough, to notice how our inner selves long for the quiet song of God’s love. We long for it because we were made for him. May we have the spiritual eyes to see the fullness of who God is–and who he is for us.
Perhaps the right order of response then is simply to take our thoughts and feelings about whatever circumstance is presently crushing us and trust the Lord enough to give it to him. This is not an empty sacrifice, friends. When we choose, by the grace of the Spirit, to pour it all out to him in total abandonment of our own saving ways, this is precious to the Lord. This is true worship.
I know these are challenging times we face. I know the pressing is getting more intense (it’s not in your head, it’s real). But I also believe that the Spirit of God is moving among his people right now in a more tangible way–the song of the Lord is calling out for our deepest response toward him. He has proven his love for us by giving of his very self, and by conquering sin and death, when we could not. I hope you take some time to worship this week…I plan to do the same. Our God is so worthy!