Do you have a favorite devotional book--something you read in addition to the Bible to encourage your faith? I have a couple. One is a tattered paperback my sister-in-law gave me. The inscription on the title page says, "Christmas 1987." It's hard to believe I've read through this book almost twenty times, yet it still speaks to me.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, or The OC. (Am I the only one who nicknames people in my head for my own amusement? I hope not.) The devotions are written versions of chapel talks he gave from 1911 until 1917, when he died a young man. They were all aimed at students who desired to live for Christ.
So often as Christians we pray, but we can't understand what God is doing. Is He answering? Here's what Oswald had to say (from the September 12 entry):
Ye know not what ye ask. Matthew 20:22
There are times in spiritual life when there is confusion, and it is no way out to say that there ought not to be confusion. It is not a question of right and wrong, but a question of God taking you by a way which in the meantime you do not understand, and it is only by going through the confusion that you will get at what God wants.
The Shrouding of His Friendship. Luke 11:5-8. Jesus gave the illustration of the man who looked as if he did not care for his friend, and He said that that is how the Heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think He is an unkind friend, but remember He is not; the time will come when everything will be explained. There is a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller communion. When God looks completely shrouded, will you hang in in confidence in Him?
The Shadow on His Fatherhood. Luke 11:11-13. Jesus says there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father, as if He were callous and indifferent, but remember He is not; I have told you--"Everyone that asketh receiveth." If there is a shadow on the face of the Father just now, hang into it that He will ultimately give His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He permitted.
The Strangeness of His Faithfulness. Luke 18:1-8. "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" Will He find the faith which banks on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand off in faith believing that what Jesus said is true, though in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you ask.
I love that! And I couldn't have said it better, so I let The OC say it. Be encouraged today that God is near and working out His will in your life. Ask, and you will receive--exactly what is best. When we hold on to our faith in times of confusion, we delight God's heart.