How My Utmost for His Highest Relieved Worry in Our Marriage
by Michelle Ule
My husband was out of a job and our firstborn had left for college when a friend sent a copy of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
With so much uncertainty and so many changes in our family, I needed something to ground my devotion time in God—and not our problems—so I opened the famous devotional on January 1, many years ago.
The second paragraph fit our circumstances all too well:
“Paul was determined that nothing would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God’s will, a crisis must develop in our lives.”
But the reading continued:
“He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide—for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.”
And thus began choosing to believe God was in control of our circumstances and we could trust Him.
My husband didn’t have as many issues with trust as I did. For me, a habitual worrier, his lack of a job fueled my fear.
For my husband, however, the second day of the devotional had an answer:
“Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him, what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual ‘going out’ in dependence upon God.” (January 2)
Both my husband and Oswald Chambers had a point.
Though I’d been a Christian for more than 25 years, My Utmost for His Highest reminded me of learned and forgotten lessons. Those readings my first year were exactly what I needed as our family managed without a fulltime job for 11 more months.
When job opportunities fell through, I could read, “Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.” (February 18)
It helped me encourage my husband to try again.
When I agonized over the family budget, I could read, “It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the practical details of our lives.” (May 23)
Somehow the bills always got paid.
And when my husband finally landed the excellent job he holds to this day, I could read, “Don’t rejoice in successful service; the great secret of joy is that you are rightly related to Me [Jesus].” (August 30).
I’ve read My Utmost for His Highest annually ever since—always finding something new to apply to my life.
But the worry habit dogged me until I wrote a biography of Mrs. Oswald Chambers—the woman who actually put together My Utmost for His Highest ten years after Oswald’s 1917 death.
As I read their letters and studied Oswald’s writings—all taken down in shorthand by Biddy and published after Oswald’s death—I saw a woman who time and again chose not to worry.
Left a penniless widow at 34 in Egypt during a World War, Biddy believed God’s hand, inexplicably, was in the midst of their circumstances.
Neither Biddy nor anyone else mentioned her expressing doubt in God’s providence or worry about her life.
After writing about her faith, I began to “pull a Biddy” in my mind when worry threatened.
Like her, I decided I would believe God was at work no matter what happened, particularly if fear tried to attack my confidence.
When I described concerns to my husband and declared, “I’m going to pull a Biddy,” he laughed.
When he announced a new idea that unnerved me, I chose to trust God would work in whatever the circumstances.
(Oswald proposed hair-raising suggestions to his wife, as well!)
Because my husband reads My Utmost for His Highest daily, too, he often quotes pertinent sections from that day’s reading at the dinner table.
My faith, our faith—in God and in each other—has benefited from years of reading My Utmost for His Highest.
I’m not worried at all—as long as we’re both reading My Utmost for His Highest!
Michelle Ule is the biographer of Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman behind the World’s Bestselling Devotional. You can read more about Biddy and Oswald Chambers at www.michelleule.com, or check out her daily “Utmost Responses” on the Michelle Ule, writer Facebook page.
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