Hope Rising

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On waiting.

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...I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do enter your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling. 

C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

I am finding this true over and over.  Still praying for light and asking which door is the true one in some areas of my life, but all in all the wait has done me good.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No such thing as chance.

All things work together for good to them that love God. —Romans 8:28

The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order that the intercession of the Spirit in you may take a particular line. Never put your hand in front of the circumstances and say – I am going to be my own providence here, I must watch this, and guard that. All your circumstances are in the hand of God, therefore never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to enter into the agony of intercession, but to utilize the common-sense circumstances God puts you in, and the common-sense people He puts you amongst by His providence, to bring them before God’s throne and give the Spirit in you a chance to intercede for them. In this way God is going to sweep the whole world with His saints.
Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being indefinite, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession, and the human side is the circumstances I am in and the people I am in contact with. I have to keep my conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit. Then as I bring the different ones to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for them.
Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, "...but the Spirit Himself makes intercession" in each of our lives (Romans 8:26).  And without that intercession, the lives of others would be left in poverty and ruin.

~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost
November 7 reading 

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God has been reminding me this week through answered prayers to keep praying and interceding for the unanswered prayers in my life and of my friends and family.  I am called to pray for and with those I love, to hold up my end, so to speak, and bring them before our Father daily.  I pray for not only our unanswered prayers, but for strength to keep pursuing His calling on our lives, and for wisdom to face each circumstance. I can't wait until the day when we understand fully how our prayers for each other protected us and helped us on each others' journeys.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The life you clutch, hoard, guard, and play safe with is in the end a life worth little to anybody, including yourself, and only a life given away for love's sake is a life worth living. 
Inspection stickers used to have printed on the back "Drive carefully--the life you save may be your own." That is the wisdom of men in a nutshell.

What God says, on the other hand, is "The life you save is the life you lose." In other words, the life you clutch, hoard, guard, and play safe with is in the end a life worth little to anybody, including yourself, and only a life given away for love's sake is a life worth living.  To bring his point home, God shows us a man who gave his life away to the extent of dying a national disgrace without a penny in the bank or a friend to his name.  In terms of men's wisdom, he was a Perfect Fool, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without making something like the same kind of a fool of himself is laboring under not a cross but a delusion.

There are two kinds of fools in the world: damned fools and what St. Paul calls "fools for Christ's sake." 

~Frederick Buechner
Listening to Your Life, November 7

Friday, November 1, 2013

A different view on seeking marriage.

The fear of marriage brings with it pathologies.  One major fruit of the contemporary culture's fear of marriage is that singles become perfectionistic and virtually impossible to satisfy as they look at prospective spouses.  Unfortunately, this perfectionism often supports gender stereotypes, because both anecdotal evidence and empirical studies show that males will look for near perfection in physical looks while women will look for partners who are financially well off...You must look good and make money if you are to attract dates, a partner, or a spouse.  And the reason you want a good-looking or affluent partner is for your own self-esteem.

...How different seeking marriage would be if...we were to view marriage as a vehicle for spouses helping each other become their glorious future-selves through sacrificial service and spiritual friendship.  What happens if we see the mission of marriage to teach us about our sins in unique and profound ways and to grow us out of them through providing someone who speaks the truth in love to us?  How different it would be if we were to fall in love especially with the glorious thing God is doing in our spouse's life?  Ironically, this view of marriage eventually does provide unbelievable personal fulfillment, but not in the sacrifice-free and superficial way that contemporary people want it to come.  Instead, it gives the unique, breathtaking fulfillment of visible character growth (Ephesians 5:25-27) into love, peace, joy, and hope (Colossians 1; Galatians 5; 1 Corinthians 13).
~Timothy Keller in The Meaning of Marriage*, pp.202, 203

*This book is challenging me in my thinking and calling out my fear of commitment.  Worth a read for anyone, single or married.