Only the Lord can take a hard-headed opinionated woman who grew up in the 1970’s and daily make me less like me and more like Him. That’s a feat that only the Lord can do; my part is to submit to His transforming work within me. In reading over another devotional from Oswald Chambers this morning, I had to pause and reread it.
“If you are going through a time of isolation, seemingly all alone, read John 17. It will explain exactly why you are where you are–because Jesus has prayed that you “may be one” with the Father as He is.”–Oswald Chambers
“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:19-21) He then poses a question: “Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life? Since you became a disciple, you cannot be as independent as you used to be.”
God reveals in John 17 that His purpose is not just to answer our prayers, but that through prayer we might come to discern His mind. Yet there is one prayer which God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus–“that they may be one, just as We are one” (17:22). Are we as close to Jesus Christ as that?
Chambers continues: “God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy.” (See yesterday’s post The First Thing MUST Be The First Thing!)
“If we will pray, regarding our own lives, ‘Your will be done” (Matt 26:42), then we will be encouraged and comforted by John 17, knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom, accomplishing what is best. When we understand God’s purpose, we will not become small-minded and cynical. Jesus prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself, just as He is one with the Father. Some of us are far from this oneness; yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him–because Jesus prayed, “that they may be one”.
I’m reminded of the hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness:
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with 10, 000 beside
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me