Monday, December 7, 2009
Nail Bitin' Time
Last weekend, I was in a "nail bitin' time." I don't bite my nails, so I mean this figuratively. I was in a place where I could see the dark tunnel, but not the light at the end of it.
Up until then things seemed to be clicking along as I continued making plans for Uganda. Then it came to buying the plane ticket.
I have wanted to travel with my good friends Andrew and Karina Smith and their little guy, David, whom I will be working with in Uganda. They called me a couple of weeks ago and said they were looking at flights, leaving the U.S. on Jan. 9, and wanted me to check and see if that would work for me. So, I began checking. I contacted the travel agency and the ticket prices seemed reasonable. Then I called Global Outreach International, my mission agency, and they were very hesistant to give me a "green light" because my financial support levels were not where they would like to have them. (Note: Global has certain financial goals they want their missionaries to meet. This is for the missionaries' protection, so they don't get out on the field and are not properly funded.)
I responded to this news with a rebounding faith and an inner joy, trusting God had something better in mind.....not. I wish I could say that was my response, but it wasn't. I slipped into a little pit of my own making, with walls of questions and doubts, held together by some depression, too. Faith is trusting when you can't see - and I realized how shortsighted my faith really is.
Today's selection in "Streams in the Desert" (one of my favorite devotional books) fit so well with this topic.
"'You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; He will also hand Moab over to you. (2 Kings 3:17-18
"To human reason, what God was promising seemed simply impossible, but nothing is too difficult for Him. Without any sound or sign and from sources invisible and seemingly impossible, the water flowed the entire night, and the 'next morning...there it was...! And the land was filled with water...The sun was shining on the water...[And it] looked red - like blood.' (vs. 20,22)
"Our unbelief is always desiring some outward sign, and the faith of many people is largely based on sensationalism. They are not convinved of the genuiness of God's promises without some visible manifestation. But the greatest trimuph of a person's faith is to 'be still, and know that [He is] God' (Psalm 46:10)
"The greatest victory of faith is to stand at the shore of the impassable Red Sea and to hear the Master say, 'Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today' (Ex. 14:13), and 'Move on' (Ex. 14:15). As we step out in faith, without any sign or sound, taking our first steps into the water, we will see the water divide. Continuing to march ahead, we will see a pathway open through the very midst of the sea."
God did have me act on the bit of faith I had, doing some things on my part to press ahead. I knew that if God wanted to me leave later than Jan. 9, He would make that known. And, if He did indeed want me to travel with Andy and Karina, He would make a way.
And a way, He did make. In about a week, He raised my financial support enough that I received the "green light" from Global to go ahead and book my ticket. Yay! I was so excited! God made a way when there seemed to be no way.
Now, back to "Streams in the Desert."
"Whenever I have seen God's wondrous work in the case of some miraculous healing or some extraordinary deliverance by His providence, the thing that has always impressed me most was the absolute quietness in which it was done. I have also been impressed by the absence of anything sensational and dramatic, and the utter sense of my own uselessness as I stood in the presence of this mighty God, realizing how easy all this was for Him to do without even the faintest effort on His part, or the slightest help from me.
"It is the role of faith not to question but to simply obey. In the above story from Scripture, the people were asked to 'make this valley full of ditches' (2 Kings 3:16). The people obeyed, and then water came pouring in from some supernatural source to fill them. What a lesson for our faith!
"Are you desiring some spiritual blessing? Then dig the ditches and God will fill them. But He will do this in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways. May the Lord grant us the kind of faith that acts 'by faith, not by sight' (2 Cor. 5:7), and may we expect Him to work although we see no wind or rain." A.B. Simpson)
I can attest to the fact that God does work in unexpected places and ways, for He did that for me last week. He provided the financial support I needed, but it wasn't how I had anticipated.
I believe we serve a very creative God and I think He delights in doing things "out of the box," including answering our prayers. Why not? He can do anything He wants. : )
P.S. So, I am leaving Jan. 9 with Andy, Karina and little David. I would very much appreciate your prayers that God would guide my preparations in the next month, and for safe travels. Thank you!
Photos courtesy of http://www.picapp.com/