A friend had given Oswald Chamber’s daily devotional, My Utmost for His Highest to Betty for Christmas. She sat in the bay window of her home turning the little book over and over, just looking at it and feeling the soft leather. The gift touched her deeply. It was the first time that anyone had affirmed her for who she was and what she was interested in.
She read it without understanding much but always gleaned a little bit. It became her daily spiritual nurture for years. Chambers’ words kept bringing her back to believing Jesus rather than believing her beliefs about Him, bringing her finally to deep healing.
The following is from Chambers’ January 4 entry that describes where Betty was emotionally and spiritually when she was introduced to the book. She had spent so many years striving to follow Jesus, not realizing that, like Peter, what she needed was to learn to know herself and wait patiently for God’s movement in her life.
“Peter said to Him, Lord, why can I not follow You now?” John 13:37
There are times when you can’t understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. The time for waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification—to be set apart from sin and made holy—or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt—wait.
At first you may see clearly what God’s will is—the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God’s will for you to do. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God’s timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. “I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant. “Jesus answered him,’…the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times'”(13:38) This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.