In the darkness of a cool room, with a hazy mist out the open window, creeping in to chill my feet seems to be opening my mind right now. This is my favorite time of year here in northern Indiana. Fall! Harvest time, apple cider, squeeze grapes, CinnaClove Nut Crunch candles, bonfire’s, cook out’s, hunting season, Soccer Season, ND Football, Sweatshirts… you get the idea.
So what does this cool air have my mind wondering about you ask? How does God move? In what ways does He speak to us? Does he yell sometimes? Does He whisper sometimes? If we miss what He is saying to us, what happens then? Are we putting God’s plans on hold or does He find someone else to fulfill His plan, someone who is listening more closely for His voice? I am sure we have all asked these questions at one time or another. The question is why is it so easy to hear Him at times, and so difficult other times?
Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a commonsense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense. In fact, they are as different as the natural life and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, “Oh yes, I believe God can do it,” but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief (see Luke 9:28-42). Every time my theology becomes clear to my own mind, I encounter something that contradicts it. As soon as I say, “I believe ’God shall supply all [my] need,’ ” the testing of my faith begins (Philippians 4:19). When my strength runs dry and my vision is blinded, will I endure this trial of my faith victoriously or will I turn back in defeat?
This is from my favorite devotional book. This paragraph from Oswald’s classic “My Utmost For His Highest” is a pretty fair representation of real life, of our life after our week on the mountain top. That week, it was very easy to hear God’s voice, loud and strong and sure. But the question was general. So now we have specific questions, and we have lots of them! So how do you decipher God’s answers for each of the 263 questions that you have to answer in order to move forward with the vision He has already given you?
Do you continue on in your faith when your worldly common sense is screaming “It’s all a lie!, What Are You DOING!?!?!?” When the answers you thought you already had wrapped up change drastically or disappear completely?
Or do you “endure this trial of faith victoriously”? Do you choose to see the window God cracked for you three stories above the door that just slammed in your face. Sure it would have been nice to walk in through a nice big door, that was wide open, but what would you learn about your faith in doing that? Wouldn’t it be great to see that cracked window three stories up and use the talents and abilities that God has given you to scale the side of that opportunity, dangerously pursuing His vision, recklessly going where you see God providing a path, and having to rely on Him solely to be able to get to that cracked window.
What a story you will have to tell of God’s faithfulness and strength. I think we usually fall apart about when the open door slams. If not then, it is when we see the cracked window and say, “there is no way I can climb that high.” How right we are. Without God, we can’t climb anywhere. It is through the fire that we are tested.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (New International Version)
6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
For Anna and I, we are coming to realize, if we are to be able to handle life on the spiritual battlefield of missions, we must be trained. Spiritually trained. What better way to refine our faith than through trials and grief. We have seen much of this over the last two years. We will see much more. However, in all this, we know that our God is greater, our God is stronger, He will provide as He said He would. In these promises, we stand with no doubt whatsoever. In His love, we abide, in His strength, we rest, and in His grace, we share, because He has called us to, the same as He has called you to.
Please pray for us as we continue to seek God’s direction for the organization where we are needed most and that will be a good fit for us. Pray for us as we begin to put together our fundraising materials and begin meeting with potential ministry partners, and pray that God would use this time in our lives to prepare us in every way possible for the road ahead, whatever that might be, and wherever it might lead.
PS. Kai is due in three weeks, so pray for Mommy and Kai as well!