The last few months have just felt a bit crazy. Here we are, no job in sight, and no money with God providing ALL THE WAY. One of the biggest things God has been pressing on my woosy-little-heart is how to have faith in Him and NOT my circumstances. When we arrived in Kona for the Family DTS a little over 3 years ago, my faith was heavily dependent upon our circumstances. “I’ll have faith in You, Lord because I know you will eventually give Jeremy a job” or “I’ll have faith in you because one day, we will be big-time missionaries”. Looking back now, I realize that was so sick. I was using Him. So twisted. I am still not where I want to be with my faith-walk but, I am relieved to be a different woman than I was. Could you imagine going through the rest of your life waiting for God to just “do that thing” you wanted Him to do? Is that even the faith described in scripture?
I have seen so many people with way greater education and reputations than me, basing their faith on things other than what the Bible says lately. Or even better, re-interpreting scripture to fit what they see in the natural. God keeps pushing me though, to see beyond my experiences. At times, I feel that I must seem like a fool. Some may even be tempted to tell me to turn from this wild faith-walk for something more traditional. I completely understand their sentiments. The thing is though, that I look at a man like Paul (or Saint Paul for some) and wonder why God, in His wisdom, would have a nut-case like Paul write so much of the New Testament? A man who was tortured for sharing the Gospel would say things like “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” A man who would send a handkerchief with his sweat to the sick for healing. Think about that. You are sitting at the Starbucks having your coffee with a church friend as they describe the struggles of their ailing mother. You say, “Look, I have to run to work but here’s my sweaty handkerchief to giver her for healing.” And they take it in faith! That is really really strange to think about, at least it is for me. Numerous accounts from scripture say that we have that same power living in us, so why not? Right? Paul goes on to talk about what hope is really all about. “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for that we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it”. That is all from Romans chapter 8, by the way. In Philippians, Paul is debating life and death. Who else has been there? Should I stay or should I go? I had a wonderful friend and sister-in-Christ pass away recently. This has had a profound effect on my faith. This young woman fought cancer in a way that astounded me and so many other people. Julie loved Jesus and praised Him until she was in His arms. As I read Philippians 1: 21-30, I know the pain my friend was in before she passed into her Heavenly Father’s presence and imagine this moment for Paul.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may about in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”
There is so much packed into this word that I am sure I will miss something but, let me share my heart. In the midst of being beaten, sick and jailed Paul was focused on the thing that mattered, knowing that it is all about Christ revealed in us and through us. If I have chosen the Lord, then I must let Him have His way in my life and the life of my family. We have moved and sold our belongings many times over the last 6 years. Each time, I have asked if I am a bad mom. Finally, I realized that God is not only working in my life, He is working in my family. I watched Julie’s mom watch her precious daughter’s body die. I listened to her voice in times of sadness, joy, confusion and understanding. I saw that woman’s faith with her most wonderful gift, her child. She gave Julie to Jesus and allowed Him to work in and through her girl. I am so humbled. As we prepare our family for missions in the future, God is speaking to me that it isn’t all about me. He is doing a work in my children as well. Who am I to deny them the joy of suffering with Christ? Who am I to stand between them and the Almighty God? I pray everyday that He will help me. “Holy Spirit, push me forward when I need to intervene and hold me back when our Father is working”.
Lastly, I read another blog post from an amazing missionary in South Sudan and I am hoping to share a link here soon. She runs a children’s home there. Right now there is terrible civil war going on and most people have fled to refugee camps in Uganda. She is living in the constant tension that they may be denied food (has happened before) or loose their land due to the wars. This would result in all of them going to a refugee camp which are unspeakable conditions. Imagine disease running rampant and no law kept (rapes, murders etc). All of those concerns, while working in the fields, hearing constant gunshots and not knowing if they are coming for you, and loosing connection with the outside world. This woman also gives an account of her entire house being taken over by killer ants and having to light fires all over in hopes of recovering her home. Just imagine, you are in the middle of nowhere, no phone, gunshots, little food, and killer ants are taking over your home as they eat whole-live lizards before your very eyes! I am not making this up. So, what do you do? I had a wasp in my house today and nearly peed my pants! The faith of this woman to stay has opened people’s hearts to the love of the Lord. If her faith was in the food truck coming or the gunshots stopping or some sort of relief instead of the word of God; she wouldn’t be able to go on. God is building inside our family of seven, this type of faith. Where we sit right now is in 4 days our rent is due and we are $800 short after working our little hineys off. If our faith was in that money coming in, we would be pretty anxious right now. If our faith was in our ability to take care of ourselves we would be pretty demoralized at this point. Our faith has to be in The One who created the world in 6 days and knows every hair on all our 7 heads! I don’t know what else to say but that I love Him. I just love Him so much. I know He loves us and my faith is totally, 100% in Him and nothing else.