Sometimes I wonder why Chambers matches up certain verses with his application. He reminds me of my Uncle Edward who took many rabbit trails when telling a story. Eventually he came back to where he started, yet it was easy to see that he had one of those connotative minds; everything he said reminded him of something else. Some might call that a scattered mind, but Edward always knew where he was going with his story.
Chambers might take a big leap from this verse to his comments, but this time I’m tracking with him and know exactly how he got there. (I have a scattered mind too.)
Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. (John 16:32)
Chambers says that Jesus is not rebuking the disciples. He knows their faith was real, but “not at work in actual things.” Their own interests had distracted them from the truth they knew about Jesus.
I’ve been there, and so has every Christian that I know. We trust Jesus for eternal life, but we don’t trust Him in this problem or that situation. I’m certain God is sovereign over the universe, but not over today’s news headlines, or the weather, or Aunt Matilda’s terminal cancer. I trust Him to help me find a new job, but not in why we lost the last one. Our faith is there, but not for everything.
The process of growing in faith is usually something we can do nothing about unless God engineers our circumstances so that we are challenged to trust Him. Before that happens (and it does happen over and over again), trust is based on feelings and blessings. That is, I trusted God when the sun was shining and all was well, but when the storms of life hit me, I either panicked or tried to take matters into my own hands. It was only after God brought me through a storm I realize that I could trust Him for dark times too. My faith was being worked out in actual life, but I could only see that after the Lord “fixed” the problems.
This panic and self-effort is what Jesus means by “. . . and will leave Me alone.” Life goes sideways and I lose sight of Him, but have learned that this “darkness” is still governed by the sovereignty of God. He is teaching me to trust Him both in the sunshine and in the storms. He wants me to yield to Him in faith whether He is blessing me or it does not seem like it.
Chambers calls this wavering faith real, but not ‘permanent.’ I would likely replace that word with ‘trusting Him with my whole heart’ or ‘trusting Him no matter what’ but regardless of the words, it is part of the process of becoming like Jesus, which is His goal for my life.
I’ve also learned that God is never in a hurry. During all this business of being sanctified, I realize how much I’ve been interested in His blessings rather than in Him. I’ve also realized how often my spiritual disciplines focus on being ‘right with God’ so I will be joyful, rather than being right with Him because that gives Him joy.
Chambers quotes Jesus: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” and says that spiritual grit is what I need. He is no doubt correct, yet I’m thinking that full trust and total commitment, no matter what, is also needed.