By Marilou Schnaderbeck
Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest asks the following questions…”Do you have even the slightest reliance on anything or anyone other than God? Is there a remnant of reliance left on any natural quality within you, or on any particular set of circumstances? Are you relying on yourself in any manner whatsoever regarding this new proposal which God has placed before you?”
I certainly used to. Although I would not have admitted, or even recognized it a couple of years ago, I took great pains and energy and thought to essentially manipulate life so that it would work out in the manner I thought was best, even God-honoring. It was not done with malicious motives, it was just how I learned to ‘cope’ in a way to avoid being hurt or ridiculed or even worse (at least in my mind) overlooked. My mind would always be playing out if-then scenarios… “if I do this, at this time, with this person, then I will get this result. And if I do this for this person, at this time and in this particular fashion, then it will set up the right situation to say this to that person in order for them to meet this need in me but yet make it look like I wasn’t needing anything.” Tiring, I know. Although I claimed to trust God, I completely relied on my own strength, logic, reputation, talents, experiences, accomplishments, relationships, and carefully crafted appearance to make it look like my life was functioning well. God allowed this for a time, but eventually he said “Enough” and interceded. Although extremely painful, He gave me a clean break from all things I had depended on. My reputation was ruined, experiences soured, accomplishments turned to ash, relationships taken away, financial security uncertain, logic proven wrong, and with all that gone, it was apparent upon what my strength and trust had rested.
With everything that I use to rely on, lean against, escape to, fall back on…gone, I was at a loss. So I said (no…it was more like screamed) “What now Lord?!” He answered “seek Me..wait on Me…know Me…follow Me…acknowledge Me..lean on Me…run to Me…trust Me…wait on Me (even more)…hope in Me…come to Me…rest in Me…serve Me…imitate Me…love Me“…and I did. It has been extremely difficult in so many different ways…but God is faithful. I don’t do it perfectly by any means, but He is patient and He promises to finish the work He starts in me. (Phil 1:16)