Power Perfected in Weakness

If I’m honest…right here…right now…I feel incredibly weak.

I came home expecting to find rest from the closing of our last season in New Zealand, reflection of the wonderful years we spent there, preparation for the season ahead. Things rarely look in real life the way we envision them in our heads.

The Lord has been kind to me these last few months, but it has looked so very different than I first expected.

You see, we are about to transition into a nation that has so much historic richness and darkness than any nation that I have ever lived in. A nation that has embraced a dark and ancient religion. We don’t speak the native tongue. We embrace a religion that is threatening to their beliefs and should they choose to follow, their lives. For lack of a better word, we are entering into an environment that is relatively intense.

So with that being said, the Lord has been kind to me during this season by exposing my weakness. Putting it on display for me to see how truly lost I am without Him. Some of you may look at those of us that are going and want to put us onto some kind of “hero” pedestal. Please don’t. The truth is, we are just like every other human being on the planet. We have aches and longing for comfort and satisfaction and entertainment. We get bored, angry, impatient, sad, annoyed, lazy, and sloppy. We find ourselves struggling – “not doing the things we want to do and instead doing the things we hate”. Just because we are getting on a plane in 3 ½ weeks does not exempt us from being human and having human weaknesses. They are there and they are raging, I assure you.

And it seems to me that the kindest thing that He could do for me this season was reveal to me how much I desperately need Him. To knock me off my high horse and remind me that He doesn’t need me to do a thing. If He wanted to, He could peal back the sky and flash His glory for every eye to see in the Middle East and He could do it without me so much as blinking my eyelids. It’s so very helpful to be reminded of that before I fly off on my jet plane thinking I’m going to save the world. How lucky the Middle East is to have me! Me with all my fine gifts and talents to offer them!

Oh how kind He is to remind me that man is but dust, and the nations…they’re but a drop in a bucket. How kind He is to remind me that The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers.”

I remember being put in my place on my internship at the Tauranga House of Prayer as I read “The Self-Sufficiency of God” chapter in A.W. Tozer’s book “Knowledge of the Holy”.

“Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his listeners, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of. Add to this a certain degree of commendable idealism and a fair amount of compassion for the underprivileged and you have the true drive behind much Christian activity today.”

I don’t want to enter this precious Nation in whom the Lord desires and think that I somehow am going to turn their hearts towards Him. The thought of that just makes me sick. No, I go because He is BIG and POWERFUL and has in His perfect wisdom set it in place that when we open our mouths, even in our weakness and frailty, He releases power and we begin to see demons flee, sickness cursed and dried up and the most exciting of the three – souls being saved from eternal damnation and given life abundantly.

We go because obedience is better than sacrifice.

What we do wrong a lot is we elevate sacrifice higher than obedience. We say “Look at all they have given up! How selfless! How honorable! How noble!” and what we need to be saying is “Look at the One who gave it all! How selfless! How honorable! How noble! How holy! Let us follow the Lamb in the way that He has modeled for us and let us now pick up our cross and follow Him!” We are not doing anything that hasn’t been done tragically, beautifully and perfectly before. And it’s that very same event that empowers us, us who are riddled with selfishness, pride, and lust for the things of this world, to shake off the filth and embrace His righteousness that we might shine like stars in this wicked and depraved generation.

We’re simply following Him. He’s already done it for us. Paved the way before us. We’re just doing what He did. Nothing original – we’re copy cats. And there is no greater cat to copy then the Lion who became a Lamb.

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Headed East

The time is drawing near. We have spent the last 4 months stateside and we are now 3 ½ weeks out from making our departure to the Mid. East.

I have a whole gamut of emotions running through me at present.

When we first arrived in the states, I was relieved. I was so glad to be under the safety of my (earthly) Father’s roof and the warmth of my Mother’s nest once again. To have babysitter’s on hand at any moment, another person planning and cooking meals for us, the convenience of American shopping and all that we need and more at our fingertips, the entertainment that is made available for big people and little people…it was like going to Disney World.

I have a new appreciation for America, we may be struggling in a lot of areas and have had our weaknesses put on display to the nations…but, there really is no place like America. It is a blessed nation that was built on the blood, sweat, and tears of immigrants from many different nations who longed for freedom, liberty, justice, independence and opportunity. I had the privilege of visiting Ellis Island just a couple of weeks ago and could still feel in the air the emotions of relief, excitement, expectation and desperation that filled the rooms and halls of that building when hundreds of thousands of people flooded in from that month long journey across the oceans into the land of promise. I was grateful for the men and women who risked their lives for the sake of the many that would come behind them, some of those many being my children and me. What an incredible history we have.

Right around the 3-month marker of being home my emotions began to transition from relief into restlessness. I still loved being close to my family but it was as if I was in the final trimester of a pregnancy. I was tired of being pregnant and ready to give birth and see this baby that I had been carrying for 8 months. Even though I knew it required excruciating pain, the possibility of trauma and disaster, a long recovery and months of exhaustion and delirium to follow…I was ready. I began to become uncomfortable in my current condition, in the way that your body begins to scream at you at the end of a pregnancy “I can’t carry this weight much longer, I can’t stretch much larger!”  I began to become antsy in my current environment, not having a space to call my own, not having any set routine with my children. It was time. And the Lord in His perfect leadership gently lead me to the place where I could actually say out loud “I am ready to go”.

Then we did it. We bought our tickets. The date was set. We were really, really, for real moving to the Mid. East. This would be the stage of your water breaking. Where longing and aching for this baby to be born turns into adrenaline, anxiety, excitement, apprehension about the things unknown – but there’s no turning back now, this baby is coming! We are really going to pack up our bags (again) put our little family of 4 on a plane on September 14th and make our way to a new nation that we will call our home. One where we still don’t know the language, have only read and heard about the culture, don’t know the smells, the sights, the warmth or chill of the air except for what we’ve imagined. And in a moment it will all be real and thus begins the rest of our lives.

On September 14th, we will board our flight to that beautiful nation in the East. And I feel perhaps a sliver of what our ancestors felt in the 1800’s as they sailed to this land of promise, except it’s not necessarily for my blood family that will come behind me in years to come…but it’s for another nation(s), another people(s) that is not my own that have yet to have the honor and privilege of hearing about the most beautiful Man that has ever walked the face of this earth. We are going so that these nations that we may touch could hear of Him and while we may not be offering them peace and prosperity in an earthly manner, we are offering it to their souls in an eternal manner. That they, and their children and their children’s children, may taste and see with their very own eyes the goodness of Him whose heart burns with affection towards them.

I may not feel for these people the same intensity that He does but this I know with all my heart…His wounds have paid MY ransom…and so have they theirs, and how will they know if no one tells them? He is far too beautiful to keep to myself.  The knowing of Him explodes into the telling of Him, the proclaiming of Him, the testifying of Him. And if His desire is truly that all that should come to know Him and that none should perish…well then how could I allow the preservation of my own life and the comforts of this world outweigh the desire of the One who was pierced for my transgressions? I cannot.

So, we go, broken, weak, frail, with very little to offer. We boast in our weakness that His strength might be put on display for all to see.

So, we go, afraid, excited, anxious, happy, naïve, leaning, trusting, hoping, clinging.

So, we go, for the joy set before us.