Devotional thought by Dr. Scott (see our contact page for others):
This morning was unusual – I felt hard pressed, crushed, perplexed, persecuted, …. by lots of problems. It felt like more than just the problems themselves – it felt spiritually oppressive. So at lunch I decided to find a verse I was sure talked about being hard pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned. Of course that is 2 Corinthians chapter 4.
I also looked up the reference in My Utmost for His Highest to see what Oswald Chambers wrote about it. I was looking for comfort and strength but part of me was also having a little pity party.
May 14th’s note has that reference and included this, “No matter how disagreeable a thing may be, say- ‘Lord, I am delighted to obey Thee in this matter’ and instantly the Son of God will press to the front and there will be manifested in my human life that which glorifies Jesus.”……”You must keep yourself fit to let the life of the Son of God be manifested, and you cannot keep yourself fit if you give way to self-pity.”
This was what the Holy Sprit was already beginning to speak to me about. I had been reminded of something Gail said recently. She was criticized by someone and felt very hurt. Instead of holding a grudge, she said, “who am I am that I can’t be humbled? Maybe God wants to teach me through this.” That was a powerful reminder to me for my problems at work. Am I too proud to let God humble me? What if he uses other people to do it? Do I really rejoice in my lack of knowledge, wisdom, or strength so that I can fully rely on his all-sufficient grace? Can I be a disciple who truly rejoices to be counted worthy of suffering for the Name?
I prayed, “God, I am delighted to obey you. If troubles lets me die more to myself – I thank you for using it, if criticism humbles me- I accept it, if feeling like I am drowning in work lets me rely on you to prioritize – I thank you for that,….”.
Every week I write a different verse, quote, or thought on the bulletin board in our administration building. I hadn’t done it yet this morning. After lunch, I wrote what struck me about the first verse of that powerful chapter.
2 Cor 4:1 “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose hope.”
“This ministry is not something that we are doing for God – it is something he is doing for us. Through his grace he is letting us humans be involved in his plan of redemption for a lost world. It is our priveledge to suffer with Christ. Only when we come to that realization do we become thankful that he is using these troubles to rid us of ourselves to fully know His power -therefore we do not lose hope.”
I have to say the rest of the day came with the same problems that the day started with, but the entire afternoon had none of the feeling of dread, doom, and resentment that I began the day with. God didn’t solve the problems, he solved an attitude problem in his child. God won’t let these problems crush me or destroy me – not the real me, the one that belongs solely to Him. The only thing he intends to help me crush is the self-centered old nature – but I have to chose that, He won’t force me.
I don’t know what problems you are facing today. I pray that they will make you more fully conscious of God’s strength, wisdom, and grace. If you are feeling crushed, chose instead to let it crush self-centeredness and find that what remains is Christ in you – indestructible, eternal. I pray that you will see sometimes he allows the testing of our faith to develop our maturity, truly dying to self so that Christ may live through us and be seen by all – even ourselves. Pray the same for us in PNG (it seems God often later needs to remind me of things he has already taught me!). It is through God’s mercy that you and I have a ministry in his kingdom work, and the struggles that go with it. Praise the Lord!
Scott for the Dooleys