Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Year With Oswald Chambers

Dear Oswald,

Our year together is almost complete. Who knew you could teach me so much? You've not been easy on me. Some of the highlights of our year together:
  • You've confronted my selfishness, you've revealed it in places I never would have dreamed.
  • You've not allowed me space to complain or spend even a moment in self-pity. In fact, you said there is no worse sin than self-pity.
  • You've shown me that if my goal in prayer is to receive anything from God other than to know Him, my priorities are misplaced, that obedience does not guarantee success because success is not the goal--obedience is.
  • You've taught me that I must be willing to be Broken Bread and Poured Out Wine, Hopelessly Insignificant (after spending a lifetime seeking significance!)
  • You've surprised me with the idea that my imagination is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. 
  • You've reinforced what I knew, but couldn't put into words--that God gives us Precious Messages during times of trial, that He comes to us in the clouds of tribulation.
  • You've shown me that I cannot force inspirational moments or spiritual depth.
  • The most important thing you've taught me in the past year is that knowing God has to be my very first goal. Not pleasing God, not receiving answers to my prayers, not even receiving healing, blessings or experiences--just knowing God.
Will I miss you? Yes, but not in a warm and fuzzy kind of way. You've confronted and challenged me in ways I have never been confronted or challenged before. You have helped me to see my self-absorption so much more clearly. I'm sure we'll get together again sometime. I still need much more confronting and challenging. This past year was just the beginning. But soon, I will leave you. I will put you on the shelf for at least a year. But the lessons you've instilled in me in 2010 will continue to permeate my spirit as I hear your words ringing in my head.

For the next month I'll continue learning from you, Oswald, before saying good-bye on December 31. It's been a good year and I've learned a lot, but I still have so much more to learn! In 2011, I'm looking forward to what another one of my heroes, C.S. Lewis, has to say.

Farewell, my friend.