Posted in Change, Church planting, Courage, Endurance, Faith, Holy Spirit, Missions, Patience, Perspective, Serving, Unexplained, Unknown

So It Is

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There are so many lessons to learn when a big change takes place in life. Most of the time I can, with relative accuracy, predict what the 2 main lessons in such a change will be (since I’ve gone through this multiple times): faith and patience. Faith to trust God when the next step is ambiguous at best and patience to walk down a path that might make me take more time than I had hoped to reach my destination.

I mistakenly thought I would bounce back from a move like this one we have just taken (from Malawi to Burundi) quickly; perhaps I was a bit presumptuous in thinking so. It was easy for me to think, “I’ve seen it all.” when really I haven’t touched the tip of the iceberg in life experience. Yes, I’ve worked overseas since 1987, yes I have moved multiple times across countries and continents, and yes of course I have experienced quite a bit – but I’ve not experienced enough to say I know it all.

The past weeks have reminded me that not all changes we make in life are equal. There are many factors that can figure into our reactions during changes in our lives, I won’t even try to list them there are so many, it can be mind-boggling as we try to make adjustments along the way. Thankfully, there is one constant truth that I cling to every time we have had to make changes (big or small) and that is God, my Father, loves me and always does what’s best for me. If I can manage to keep that truth in focus, everything else eventually falls into place.

It seems, as I look back on the past few months, that God is always teaching me the same lesson in a different way: trust Him and His process. If I resist the process long enough, God will simply bring me around again to another set of circumstances to teach me the same lesson again. Better to learn it the first time!

I used to be under the impression that our lives are meant to be lived for God so we can do something for Him; kind of a merit-based faith! Don’t mistake me here, I believe we give all we have back to God: our time, energy, talents, and possessions. However, we don’t give it all to get His approval or His blessings, Jesus already did the work for us so we don’t have to strive any longer. We have been given God’s approval in Him – we are blessed! Anything I might do in my lifetime for God is simply an expression of love that I have for Him and that lets me off the hook of seeking after merit!

Since God is after the best for me, not what He can get from me as I have thought in times past, it would seem the best course of action would be to trust His processes over my own. Those processes don’t make sense to my mind most of the time, but my heart somehow understands what God’s Spirit is leading me to do.

John 3:8 NIV “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

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Living this way, by the Spirit, can be quite intimidating in the sense that most of the time those around us are likely to misunderstand what we are doing. In fact, it might even seem a bit “flighty” to those around us. It might appear to those observing us that we don’t know which direction we are taking, and in this life of the Spirit so it is. We don’t really know where we are going. All we know for certain is that God is good and He takes us to the places where we need to go in order for Him to work in us and through us. This life is a big puzzle that God majestically puts together from start to finish – we just don’t know where those pieces fit much of the time until we look back and can say, “Now I see.” 

We’re after a goal that only God knows how we can attain, so as He leads may we follow – even to the consternation of those around us. So it is, we often won’t be understood or embraced, but if we dare to let God’s Spirit blow through us, nothing can hold us back from seeing the pieces fall into place.

 

Posted in The Unexpected, Unknown

The Pork Roast Disaster

I’ve been in situations in my life when some backup would have been nice. You know, someone to supply a safety net when I’m in a situation that I need saving from.

Some years ago in Burundi we were having visitors over for dinner. I fussed and fussed – I felt a bit insecure in my cooking abilities;  I had challenged myself by putting a new item on the menu: a pork roast.  As I look back on that roast experience, I ask myself what in the world was I thinking when I planned that meal? I can’t remember that beef wasn’t available at the butcher’s and we have never been much on eating pork. Why a pork roast?

Anyway, the roast did smell good as it cooked in my little gas oven. Our visitors arrived, the house smelled of roast, and I managed to get the table set and have everything just about ready…until it was time to remove the roast from the oven and make the gravy.

Back then, our kitchen sat off the living room. In fact, you could see into the kitchen from the living room and the little dining area was set off to the side of the living area. You have to know this little detail to understand how what happened as I took the roast out of the oven.

I reached ever so gingerly into the oven to remove the roast from the oven to make the gravy and as I did, I slightly jostled the roasting pan. The unthinkable happened and the little round roast (was nice and round like a soccer ball) rolled out of the pan and before I could do anything about it – bounced on the kitchen floor and rolled out into the living room right in front of everyone.

Major disaster! And there was no backup plan, no one there to rescue me!

Tears stung the back of my eyes (I was still in my perfectionist stage of life when I found it difficult to laugh at moments like these) and I ran after the roast and scooped it up with as much grace as a water buffalo can muster (i.e., no grace whatsoever) and rushed back into the kitchen.

I rinsed off the little pork roast/soccer ball and let it cook for a few more minutes before resuming gravy-making status. We ate dinner, everyone seemed to sense my horror and spared me from any comments!

The moral of this story? Close the kitchen door before attempting to remove a pork roast from the oven.

Isaiah 50:7 NLT “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like a stone, determined to do His will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.”

Each day comes with its own set of possible “unknowns” attached to it: flat tires, unexpected colds, surprise phone calls, and pork roast disasters. Our Father is there for us, even at the most unexpected moment.

Such potential disasters are specifically designed to get us off course – but we do well to remember at any given moment He is there and has our back and won’t allow us to be shamed.

If, this week, you find yourself facing the unexpected, trust in Him who you follow and whose will you are committed to. He has your back, He will hold you up and help you pick up your pork roast.


Note – I haven’t cooked a pork roast once since this disaster!