From a comfy chair in the corner of my candlelit dining room, I press the phone deeper into to my ear as my best friend’s voice is suddenly overtaken by what sounds like pinging under water. A sound that conjures up imagery of a submarine submerged in the recesses of the Atlantic, searching for cable and a clearer connection between us.
She is driving somewhere in Kansas on a sunny afternoon while I’m in London, preparing for dinner. We’ve learned to wait until the air between us clears before giving up on the conversation. A few seconds later, her voice is echoing, “Can you hear me now?” And laughter ensues.
As an expat, I use apps to communicate with people often. Over the past two and half years, I’ve learned that getting the utmost from conversation requires patient endurance. And sometimes perseverance.
“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen,” writes Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.
I don’t know about you but when what I’m cultivating isn’t growing, plans aren’t moving forward, and attaining goals seem as slow as snails slogging through mud, I battle a sinking feeling. I define lack as simply meaning I am not enough and quickly brainstorm solutions that all begin with more.
More research. More study. More preparation. More practice. More . . . fill in the blank.
And the more I fixate on doing more to fix the unseen and not yet, the further I stray from the Truth. I am not chanting, “Persevere!” but rehearsing the ways I’ve fallen short.
Focus inward while you wait on God and forget that you are deeply loved. Because the solution for finding fulfillment isn’t in doing more but being in God’s presence to remember who you are.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35-39, ESV
Some of us wait with terrified hearts that our connection with God will eventually be cut off. We fear that God won’t come through in the way we desperately need Him to.
But Chambers reminds us that there is a call God makes to each of us. A call to spiritual perseverance with a clear connection toward truth. “A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.” We can toast L’Chaim! To Life! even when the details of life are unclear, fuzzy, and distorted.
Work from your head and soul amnesia is the outcome. Work from the soul and hope is what you hang on to.
Hope waits because hope believes God works all things together for our good.
A best friend becomes the best when they know how to wait in the mess with you. And Jesus is our closest friend.
We can live a hope-filled, Oswald Chambers legacy because the truth will always triumph over today’s tribulations. Getting the utmost from life doesn’t always require doing more but being still and persevering spiritually while you wait.
Recently, one of my essays was published in Utmost Ongoing: Reflections on the Legacy of Oswald Chambers, inspired by the February 22 devotion in his classic book, My Utmost for His Highest. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Chambers’ death, Utmost Ongoing is a compilation of reflections on the ways his timeless words have left a legacy of deepening faith in our hearts.
I’m giving two copies away! One for a blog subscriber and one to a Sabbath Society peep. Subscribe to the blog here and to the Sabbath Society here. (If you are subscribed to both, you have doubled your chances to win!) To be entered in the giveaway, answer one of these question in the comments below.
How has God been a friend to you this week? What passage of scripture is resonating most currently? If Oswald Chambers has impacted your faith, tell me about that too!!
The winners will be chosen on Monday, November 6!
UPDATE: The winners of the giveaway are Jo Isom and Cathy Bowers. Congrats ladies!! And thanks for all of you who left comments. I was greatly blessed by reading them.