Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A New Literary Friend
I made a new friend this past weekend when I was perusing the bookstore with a coupon good for a third off any one item. I met him on the shelf in the back of the store and the coupon encouraged me to take a chance and get to know Oswald Chambers. In the past several days, he has joined the ranks of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austin, Francis Schaeffer, Charlotte Bronte, Sir Conan Doyle and J.R.R. Tolkien as I've started to make my way through My Utmost For His Highest. It's a title is often referenced but one I just haven't brought myself to pick up until now. As I have enjoyed making this new acquaintance, I wanted to introduce him to you.
One passage had particularly stuck with me since I read it on Friday evening on the topic of Divine Control as Chambers puts it. In regards to "How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" in Matthew 7:11, He writes, "Notion your mind with the idea that God is there. If once the mind is notioned along that line, then when you are in difficulties it is as easy as breathing to remember- Why, my Father knows all about it! It is not an effort, it comes naturally when perplexities press." He goes on to say that in times of trouble and the common tendency is to either consider Him unfaithful or even unjust while entrenched in darkness but prayer is our answer, not to provide an end but to build our relationship with God.
I believe that our idea of who God is must be consistent with scripture and not at all who we want God to be. While it sounds incredibly simplistic and naïve to do this, consider the phrase oft spoken, "But I don't want to believe in a God who would do that!" We fall into the wrong assumption that because God is our benevolent Father who promises to give us good things in Matthew 7:11 as aforementioned, we should never encounter trials or tribulation. That is why I love the Chambers' concept of "notioning your mind". It is a choice to continually train and fix our minds upon the fact that God is good and has our best in mind and once we have rooted this truth into our mental processes, it is a natural step to trust Him and continually rely on our relationship. Peace is just as much a result of training our minds as it is a gift bestowed upon us by God.
As I said, Oswald and I already feel like old friends. I keep returning to the same, albeit wonderful, authors and have decided that I need to introduce some new people into my reading lists since, for me, I need that constant challenge and push to discipline that is otherwise hard to come by since I tend to like the path of least resistance. Hopefully, next time a coupon arrives, I'll get to meet someone else just as amazing and thought provoking in my literary adventures. And, if you have any suggestions...