Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Patience of Faith

One of my favorite books is My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. This is yesterday's reading. If you're looking for a daily devotional, and have never read this, I encourage you to check it out. You can find it online here.

Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - "I cannot stand any more." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. "Though He slay me, yet will I wait for Him."

Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. You cannot see Him just now, you cannot understand what He is doing, but you know Him. Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless confidence on God.

God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ's life, and there are to be none in ours. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee." The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvellous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.

As I was reading this I thought about a comment I heard from Tim Keller. He said that many times we feel that God has no right to stretch us like this. He believes this is due to a warped view of grace. If we feel that in some small we are accepted by God (that we are saved) by our good works, then there is a limit on how much God can ask of us, how much God can stretch us. However, if our acceptance comes totally and completely through God's grace, then there is no limit on what He asks of us.

This is no doubt a little scary, but it can also be freeing, especially when we begin to understand that God's working in our lives, even when it is so difficult, is the best thing for us.

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