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Steve West - The Door of Destitution


WORLD Radio - Steve West - The Door of Destitution

It’s the only way for us to enter into Heaven

Yana Tatevosian/iStock image

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, February 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Let’s join WORLD commentator Steve West for a time of quiet reflection.

STEVE WEST, COMMENTATOR: This morning I opened the window in my office just an inch or so to better hear the rain tapping on the shingles, dribbling down the tree. Its steady percussion a soothing music that seeps into my room.

In my personal worship time, I’m reading a Bible passage and writing facts, lessons, and applications in a journal my daughter bought for me in South Africa. Round, full letters spill across the page. “See what large letters I write to you as I use my own hand,” the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians. So I too make my mark, blue the page with tilting print that marches across the lines.

The rain has stopped. But it left a sheen on the bark of the maple outside my window. Beads of water cling to its branches. The wind lifts what leaves hang on. Periodically one lets go, and sashays on air currents to the littered ground below to await what’s next.

To help prompt worship, I’ve been using the classic devotional by the early 20th century Bible teacher Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. In a recent entry he wrote, “We have to enter into His Kingdom through the door of destitution.” His words stretch across time and space. I imagine him writing them in a wooden Army barracks shack in a dusty desert camp near Cairo, Egypt. He served as a YMCA chaplain for men guarding the Suez Canal during WWI. The entry goes on: “The greatest blessing spiritually is the knowledge that we are destitute. We have to enter into His Kingdom through the door of destitution.”

Outside my windows it’s raining again. I lay down my pen and turn the pages of the journal back to August where I sense the heat of summer sizzle from the entries. August 22nd: “I need to pray God into all that I do.” August 7: “Pray about everything—never fear, but love.” And in the heat of July, there’s the fire of resolve: “Push back against the antichrist, against the spirit of the world, saying ‘Christ has overcome, Christ rules, Jesus is coming soon.’”

Destitute. These applications written in earnest in my journal mock me. So much is left undone.

I go back to Chambers, imagine entering the door to his room, closing the desert behind. The latch clicks, and he looks up at me. Our eyes meet. “We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God; we have to receive it as a gift or do without it,” he offers softly. I hang my head.

A song is rising from the forest floor. Destitute leaves, decaying ever so slowly, quietly obey, do their work, with promise of the day they will rise again, be made new. I look down at the last two words in my journal, just written, the ink barely dry: “Christ alone.” There’s a very faint period after the words. It’s tentative, as if that phrase is pushing forward, awaiting more.

I’m Steve West.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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