The Scene of Martyrdom

Sometimes when I read Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost for His Highest, I have to slow down and reread several sentences. I blink my eyes kinda fast and zoom in on certain words or phrases that are foreign to me. Sometimes I Google a word. Not gonna lie. Sometimes I even cheat and head to the website because the version there is a little easier to read, though it’s never as beautifully worded. 

He is a master at poetic language–manipulating words together in painted sentences. It’s like an art.

But today when I read the devotional, I got it. 100%. No Googling.

It’s about suffering. It’s about our plans and God’s plans, different in nature and goal. That’s something of which I am familiar.

Years ago, I was asked to speak at a Women’s Conference at First Baptist Irving. Each speaker was from a different generation. I spoke for the baby generation–Generation Y or Millennials. In a lot of ways Generation Y is very important. In 2004, Businessweek had this to say of Millennials:

“The industry brims with theories on what makes millennials tick. They’re renowned for multitasking, regarded as hard sells on brands, skeptical about advertising.”

We help run things.

But we’re also impatient. We’re needy. We don’t like losing control. We make snap decisions. We’re materialistic.

We’re going so fast, so hard, all the time, that we’re never just still.

And that’s what the Lord requires. Stillness. Waiting. Yielding.

My conference speech was called The Run Ahead Child. I talked about how I have always been the type to want to know and do what’s next–quickly, without a lot of waiting around or patience. I’m 10 steps ahead of where I’m supposed to be because I think I know a shortcut.

I have also always been a plan maker. I love plans. Lists. Order. And so does God. Look at the universe. Look at DNA. Order. Plans. Organization. Purpose. But HIS ways are often not MY ways.

Thank the Lord for that.

But Chambers acknowledges how we are to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing His ways are best. This is an excerpt from today’s reading, discussing our call:

“We make calls out of our own spiritual consecration, but when we get right with God He brushes all these aside, and rivets us with a pain that is terrific to one thing we never dreamed of, and for one radiant flashing moment we see what He is after, and we say–“Here am I, send me.”

This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way! But when He uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object.”

Then this line.

“We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom.”

When we surrender our lives to Christ, He is in total control of our circumstances. He gets to choose the plan for us. He makes our paths straight. He determines our way. He chooses the scene for us. And sometimes we don’t like it.

I would have never chosen infertility. I would’ve never chosen miscarriage. If I’m just being honest, I would make my life as easy and pain-free as possible.

But what good does a life like that do for anyone else? If Christ had come, led and easy life, and died an old man, what example would’ve been set? Who wants to put their hope in someone who has never known struggle?

Chambers concludes with this line, and I think it’s a beautiful description of why the struggle matters so much.

“We have to be adjusted into God before we can be broken bread in His hands. Keep right with God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.”

So we press on.


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