Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Being taught how to fly

“Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8 NASB

When we started down this road over a year ago, the hardest thing I struggled with was TRUST. A year later I am still working this out on a daily basis. I am the poster-child for moderation, safety, and routine. I stray very little from the known, tangible and predictable. Just ask Kellee. So when God began tugging on my heart about missions, He was making a quick cut. No bothering with low-hanging fruit. He went right for the jugular.

Do I trust Him?

Will I give Him my life? Without limits? That is what He requires, right? Can I call Him, “Lord,” and still do my own thing? It doesn’t look that way in the New Testament and I know that in my head, but it is slowly working its way to my heart. To really put feet to it is another thing - like walking away from a good paying job for one that pays nothing, or selling everything and “going to a land I will show you.” Who lives like that?

So I find myself in a completely unknown place right now. Like all the things I ever knew and trusted in were removed and all that is left is God. That’s a great place to be and that’s a scary place to be. It is so hard to let go. Ask Kellee, she will tell you I am the guy who “crunches the numbers.” So to think of no guaranteed paycheck, is a stretch for me. All the little ways I have tried in the past to be in control of my own future or circumstances, but now God is saying, “Trust in Me with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In everything you do seek Me first, and I will guide you.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Oh how I like to lean on my own understanding (and spreadsheets).

But my understanding only sees what is directly in front of me. And it is flawed because I am wrapped in this mortal flesh which constantly seeks its own. God has my full lifetime in perspective. He is shaping my character to be fitting for the eternity we have to spend together.

I had a poster in college that said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (Corrie Ten Boom).  Therein lies the key. God is the known in all this. To quote the missionary Karen Watson, “I was not called to a place, but to Him.” When I find myself struggling, I can read God’s promises in the Bible and it breathes back into my heart the reassurance that He is sovereign and He is faithful. I am reminded that it is ultimately not about me – it’s about Him. It’s about displaying His worth to a world that does not know Him and more specifically to people that cannot pick up a Bible and read those precious promises I hold so dear. In the Mara region of Tanzania alone, there are nine language groups whose only access to the Word is what they hear on Sunday in a language not their own (most church is in Swahili, not the local heart languages – the language people grew up speaking and in which they express emotion). Someone described it like, “trying to eat soup with a fork. We can get a little taste, but cannot get nourished.”

So I am gently reminded that I have the Bible in my heart language, the Holy Spirit inside, and Jesus praying for me to the Father – wow, I can live like that!

"When you get to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid
to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly."  --- Edward Teller

May I hold loosely to the things of this world but tightly to Him. (1 Tim 6:7-11) In whatever state I find myself may I be content because that is where He would have me be. (Phil 4:11-12)

1 comment:

  1. My wonderful, precious Patrick. I am shedding tears as I read your heart in this blog. I can't even begin to imagine all of the praying, talking, pacing, being afraid, feeling confused and excited at the same time, etc, that you and Kellee have gone through during this entire process. I am so extraordinarily proud of you both, and your sweet kids, too, that you are quite literally turning everything over to the Lord in order to follow His call. I promise that I am praying for you, loving you, holding you all close to my heart. And as God gives me the opportunity, I will send money to help you continue His work. Blessings, hugs, kisses and all my love. I will look forward to reading and seeing God's love being poured out on and through you. Mary Stephens