Chamber’s devotional today speaks about perseverance.
Perseverance, he says – is more than just holding out till the end. Perseverance is not just endurance.
Chambers uses the analogy of a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. We are the bow and arrow. God stretches us and seemingly pays no attention even when the stretching seems unbearable. The archer stretches his bow and arrow, and holds it there, until the moment when the target is in sight and then he releases it. Simiarly, God stretches us and holds us there, until His purpose is in sight and then He releases us.
How do we respond then – as the bow and arrow in the archer’s hands – being stretched seemingly in ways beyond what our flesh or our hearts can bear?
The only response is to entrust our lives into God’s hands completely. Chambers describes it as “throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.” God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to throw ourselves with total abandoned confidence to Him.
It takes someone with a true living testimony of total abandonment to God to write a devotional with such conviction. And indeed, Chambers himself was such a man, a man who lived in total surrender to the God whom he believed was worth his all.
[Image source: http://www.wheaton.edu/learnres/ARCSC/collects/sc122/sc122-026.jpg%5D
Feeling God’s call to full time ministry, Chambers and his wife started a Bible College. When his Bible College was already well-established, World War I broke out. At that moment, Chambers felt a stirring in his heart, that God was calling him elsewhere. He sought the Lord and moved in accordance to His calling to become a Chaplain to the troops in Egypt, taking his wife and 2 year old child along with him. (Info taken from here) Whether he was teaching his students or the soldiers, he always emphasized the idea of abandon. He told them:
“The great word of Jesus to his disciples is abandon… When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on his word; trust entirely to him and watch that when he brings us to the venture, we take it.” (Source)
He eventually died out in the mission field due to a ruptured appendix and other complications, but his legacy lives on today. His wife went on to transcribe his lectures and notes into the devotional that has impacted the lives of many today.
He’s not the only one who has lived a life of complete abandonment. There are countless other missionaries who have done so too. Hudson Taylor is another one, the Founder of the China Inland mission, whose whole life was driven by the verse John 14:13.
Image courtesy of http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/itaylor.html
He was a man who believed completely and solely in the power of prayer. A famous testimony is often shared of how his employer told him to remind him whenever his salary was due. Taylor, however, was determined that he did not need to remind his employer and decided to leave this in the hands of the Lord. And God never ever shortchanged him.
Reading about the lives of these two people make me wonder if we’ve really lost some of that sense of total surrender and abandonment to the gospel in the world of Christianity today. That kind of simple faith to really just depend completely on God and nothing else, to depend on prayer as the only resource in our world. These were men for whose hearts were filled simply with the Word of God, where God’s word has sunk its deep roots such that they believed with such utmost conviction in it.
And I pray that I too, can one day live that kind of life of total abandonment to Christ, as they did.