2009-06-25 - “RECEIVING YOURSELF IN THE FIRES OF SORROW”
(From “My Utmost for His Highest” - Oswald Chambers)
“... what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 'Father, glorify Your name' ” - John 12:27-28 (12:20-36).
As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not fromthe hour, but out of the hour.
We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there issorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.
Sorrow removes a great deal of a person's shallowness, but it does not always make the person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.
NOTE: Brother Yun, “The Heavenly Man”, experienced tremendous suffering in China for his bold witness for Jesus Christ. He was persecuted, beaten, jailed, brought to the very point of death - as well as those associated with him - including his family. In the beginning he complained to God, until the Lord Himself clearly pointed out the truth in the above message by Chambers.
Paul Hattaway wrote the biography on the remarkable true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun published by Monarch Books, 2002, in the US. (Distributed by Kregel Publications, PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501)
The book of Job in the Bible deals with this same subject. Oswald Chambers wrote “Baffled to Fight Better,” a series of sermons to British troops in World War I - in this book showing how suffering made a good man better.
Young or old, those who are serious for life and God, all are appointed to suffering. The above reading on ”Receiving Yourself in the Fires of Suffering” is an absolute necessity for such. There are noexceptions. Understand, accept and live through this insight, and you are destined to become profitable both in life and the Kingdom of God. - J.A.W.
NOTE TWO: Correction - On Thursday June 18th, I mailed out a prayer purported to be given by Billy Graham. Several friends alerted me to the fact that this is a misnomer. It was delivered by a preacher to the House of Representatives some 10 years previously, and several Democrats walked out of the meeting to express their disapproval. Actually, the true story is perhaps more startling than the fiction. <www.snopes.com> gives the full and true story. Please accept my apologies and forgive me for failing to check with “Snopes” first. This is perhaps the 3rdor 4thtime I have been caught in this type of error. Again - “To err is human; - to forgive is divine.”