Hanging on in Faith
Driving through the California heartland, the breadbasket of the Central Valley where so much of our food is grown, I tuned in to a radio broadcast featuring a book from many years ago. It is called ‘The Vision,’ a much-loved book by Oswald Chambers who died in 1917, My Utmost for His Highest. Chambers was an artist, musician, and Christian theologian who wrote with eloquence and passion in the days when books were likely to be published more for the richness of their content than for their mass-market appeal.
As I drove through the farmlands, past brown and black cows framed against heather covered hills, it seemed as if I were driving into the past, back through time into a land where the values of ethics and faith still formed the core of daily life. It felt good to remember that faith and inspiration were such valuable components of American life, not so long ago and not so far away. As I listened to Chambers’ words, I felt connected to other generations before me who, when faced with misery and heartache, had learned to walk in faith.
‘The Vision’ spoke of times when we feel as if were are being drug through the mire, bloodied and battered in ways that don’t make any human sense but offers much to the faithful heart. Chambers believed that through this process the soul and the spirit are reshaped, prepared for much bigger work, deeper ways of being, and the greater gifts that God has in store for our lives.
Though I believe deeply in an indwelling God, I found this passage comforting. Part of the duality in mainstream religion stems from the idea that we as humans are separate from God. The new personal spirituality opens our hearts and minds to the idea that God and we are one. But if we can think of God as the part of ourselves who knows more than we know and as the part of ourselves which is connected to infinity, then it becomes possible to believe that this ‘Greater than I Know Myself to Be’ is directing our steps and guiding us toward a future in which all of our gifts and all of our experiences will be put to great good use for the good of ourselves and of humanity.
If you find yourself mired in hard times, you might check out Oswald Chambers. It can be comforting to read wisdom from prior generations and to realize that perhaps what we suffer now may well be the very thing that leads us to our greatest good.
To your greater good and all that is yet to be…