In 2009 after a particularly difficult conversation with my mom where I lamented over many things going on in my life which I could not understand, she shared with me something she had remembered from years before. It had the title of, “Others May, You Cannot,“a word written by G.D. Watson (1845-1924). Once off the phone I searched the internet for it and printed it out. Every now and then I have an urge to go it, and have read it hundreds of times. It is now covered with my notes in every shade of pen, sprinkled with dates over these last ten years. Last week came another one of those urges, so I went to it, carefully reading over G.D. Watson’s words and every scribble of mine.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)
If God has called you to be truly like Jesus in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. He will put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be allowed to follow other Christians. In many ways, He seems to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
Others who seem to be very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and scheme to carry out their plans, but you cannot. If you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.
Others can brag about themselves, their work, their successes, their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. If you begin to do so, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
Others will be allowed to succeed in making great sums of money, or having a legacy left to them, or in having luxuries, but God may supply you only on a day-to-day basis, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, a helpless dependence on Him and His unseen treasury.
The Lord may let others be honored and put forward while keeping you hidden in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade.
God may let others be great, but keep you small. He will let others do a work for Him and get the credit, but He will make you work and toil without knowing how much you are doing. Then, to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work which you have done; this to teach you the message of the Cross, humility, and something of the value of being cloaked with His nature.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch on you, and with a jealous love rebuke you for careless words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.
God will take you at your word. If you absolutely sell yourself to be His slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and let other people say and do many things that you cannot. Settle it forever; you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue or chaining your hand or closing your eyes in ways which others are not dealt with. However, know this great secret of the Kingdom: When you are so completely possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven, the high calling of God.
By G.D. Watson
G.D.Watson (1845-1924) was a Wesleyan Methodist minister and evangelist based in Los Angeles. His evangelistic campaigns took him to England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Korea. He also wrote several books.
Ten years that the ever-deepening reality of these words continues in my life. It never ceases to challenge my flesh. As much as it is challenging, it is of great comfort to me. Trusting it is all for a purpose. Not my will, Father, but Yours be done.
One reason I have so appreciated the Christ-centered ministry of T. Austin-Sparks is how deep and constant the Holy Spirit’s word and thought coming through his writings has confirmed the place where I have found myself in this journey of walking the narrow road. It hasn’t been that he has taught me much necessarily, but that the faithful and true Lord has brought me through the crucible of experience and, either after or in the midst of that, I will read something of Sparks and He brings it to Life right there in the privacy of my own home as I sit on my couch or kitchen table or desk.
It isn’t always that the Lord lifts the clouds of our circumstances, but gives us the faith to see Him in all things. It seems our journey is holding onto the memory of what has gone before; the many ways the Lord has showed Himself faithful in our yesteryear’s, as well as the practical outworking of our faith when living in the present and looking into the future. There is not a moment where He is not alive and an ever present help in our times of trouble.
That being said, here is an excerpt from Sparks’, “Knowing Christ in the Power of Resurrection“, that has so comforted me in the challenge of its truth and its reality in life:
Very often those who ought to be, by reason of their spiritual position, helpful, are anything but encouraging; they would put us back. All that we are left with is: “The Lord has called me; I know that in my heart. The Lord has led me this way. The Lord has caused me to take this step that I have taken. I have burned my bridges; I have cut all my ties; I have stepped out on the Lord. Now, although I have done that, the Lord is testing me, seeming to give me very little confirmation and encouragement, and the Lord’s representatives (officially) are by no means helpful. Nevertheless I stand to it, I am going on with God.” A man or a woman who can go on like that is going to count for God. Elisha had nothing whatever to fall back upon but his inward knowledge of the Lord. He went through on that.
It is a very nice thing when we get encouragement from every direction in the way of our conceived call; when the Lord comes along and confirms it in all sort of ways. And then everyone else, and everything else, says: “We are with you; we will stand by you; we are going to support and uphold you.” We can get on all right that way. But if the Lord gives us no special, conspicuous providences or sovereign acts; if He hides Himself, so that what we do see is rather discouragement to go on, even from the Lord’s side; one of the most difficult things is the hiding of the Lord. He is there. He is with us. He is doing things, and yet there is nothing that our flesh can take hold of; we could never write an account of how wonderfully and marvellously the Lord carried everything through, and left nothing to us at all; it is a matter of faith going on with God, even when the Lord seems to be hiding Himself, and allowing much of discouragement to remain on our horizon. And then no one else could enter into it. Everybody else to whom we might look, and from whom we might expect something, are no use to us at all. All that they have to say is something that is melancholy: “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today?” Elisha seems to be a little impatient with that. It might have been expressed in this way: “You are a morbid crowd, and I would sooner you kept quiet if you had nothing better to say!” They are not inspiring at all. And that is very often how we find the people to whom we look for encouragement, They see the difficulties, they see the dark side of things, they tell us what we are running our heads into, the calamities that will overtake us. The question is: will you go on with God? Elisha went on. The statement is: “They two went on”. There is something in that which leads to a large place, which means much for the Lord.
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