“Wherever there is any element of pride or of conceit, Jesus cannot expound a thing. He will take us through the disappointment of a wounded pride of intellect, through disappointment of heart. He will reveal inordinate affections–things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. We listen to many things in classes, but they are not an exposition to us yet. They will be when God gets us alone over them.” -Oswald Chambers
“…things over which we never though He would have..”
Out of the entire devotion that day (I am going through ‘My Utmost For His Highest’) this is the phrase that caught me. It captivated me. I was in an empty room at work with the door open. I kind of wanted to cry, or maybe just jump up and down and yell thanks to God. That is how this entire devotion has affected me. It seems that each day as I read I feel relief mixed with…I am not really sure of the word for the other sentiment…I wanted and didn’t want to say obligation…no. No. It’s gratitude. Relief, gratitude. The feeling that somehow for this wonderful revelation, one right after the other, I need to give thanks. I need to show how thankful I am to God for revealing these things to me.
This is thought in one breath, but in the next are the words of a pastor, which were first the words of Jesus: “‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her,'” Luke 10:41-42. Mary was simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, while Martha was hurrying and scuttling about to make sure everything was perfect for Him.
I used to sort of despise Mary. I wanted to come to Martha’s defense. She was only showing her love and gratitude for God. She wanted to do great things for Him. Who, that knows and loves God, hasn’t had that thought cross their own minds? While Mary just sat there. She did nothing. She offered no help, no meal, no drink. She just sat there at His feet.
She just sat. Still. Waiting. Listening.
I still want to defend Martha, but I realize that part of me is the part that could never truly see what Jesus wants. He wants us. It’s that simple. It stops there. He doesn’t want us “to” or “there” or “here” or “then”. He wants us.
She just sat. He just wants her.
She offered herself.
Not by doing anything. Not by cleaning, not by preparing a meal. Not by giving something up, nor by trying to be something. She just sat. Still. Waiting. Listening. And guess what? Jesus spoke. He taught. He cherished.
He defended. But this story isn’t about who was right and who was wrong. This story is about Jesus wanting us. We are enough for Him. As we are. All bloodied with guilt and lust and murder. Isn’t that crazy? The man went to His death willingly, so that He could know us. So that we could know Him. Just so that we could have the opportunity to just sit at his feet and breathe and listen and be still. To let Him cover us, love on us. How in the world do we have that kind of impact on the Word of God? How do we even begin to impact what He chooses to do?
To me, it’s a paradox. We are meaningless without Him, but with or without Him, we mean a great deal to Him. God, the love of God, the God of love, is a great big huge gigantic mystery. How can we ever fathom? So in each moment, in each devotion when something is revealed, how do I not crave more? How can I possibly let an idea, a curiosity rest? But He doesn’t ask me to understand. In fact He tells us that there are some things we will never understand until we are finally with Him. So what do I do with this knowledge He has revealed to me? In Matthew 10:27 He tells us to shout it from the rooftops. But besides that…He doesn’t want me to be consumed by it…? He just wants me to sit in His presence? Not even to relish the fact that He has revealed anything, but to simply sit with Him, hear from Him, absorb His instruction and His love.
I believe I have written about it before: I am in a place in my life I “never thought” I would be. And I have struggled with things I thought I “never would have.” I have even considered the pain I have put myself through to be unnecessary–consequences that could have been avoided if I had only been obedient.
Trust me when I say that in no way do I think God would ever want us to be disobedient. He gives us instruction through His word and convictions that are meant for our good and for the good of our union with Him. However, also trust me when I say that God can and will use every.single.thing. for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His good purpose (Romans 8:28). Even if those things made us feel the furthest away from God that we have ever been, trust me when I say He noticed. He was wanting you with Him during that time as much as He wanted you with Him when the worship songs at church were your life. Haha. And those terrible things may have involved a “disappointment of a wounded pride of intellect, through a disappointment of heart,” but they can all be used to draw you near to Him.
Without these things, that I thought I would never know (as in partake in), I may never have learned to be still.