Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oh, The Places You’ll Go…. (When You’re Not in Control)

This week we’ve been blessed to have my parents (aka Grandma & Grandpa) with us.  We’ve visited our stomping grounds of Cheshire Home, the Cotton Tree downtown where the first freed slaves gathered after being brought to Freetown, the agricultural center, the Hope Center, the wards, and the beach. The beach isn’t quite so “beachy” in the middle of rainy season, however, but still the beauty of Sierra Leone can take my breath away.
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with grandma & grandpa at Bureh Beach, in the rain
As I sit in the hut I have time to ponder what God has done in our lives over the past two years since Dan felt the nudging by God to “go to Africa,” and I eagerly accepted the challenge (having felt that same nudging some 16 years earlier).  I remember that it’s not what I can do, but rather what God is doing through us.  This week I was struck by the simplicity of this response and it echoed in the devotional by Henry & Richard Blackaby, in “Experiencing God Day-By-Day:”

God’s Initiatives
Now the Lord had said to Abram,
‘Get out of your country, From your family
And from your father’s house.  To a land that I will show you.’
Genesis 12:1

The most dramatic changes in your life will come from God’s initiative, not yours.  The people God used mightily in Scripture were all ordinary people to whom He gave divine assignments that they never could have initiated. The Lord often took them by surprise for they were not seeking significant mandates from God.  Even so, He saw their hearts, and He knew they were trustworthy.

The Lord spoke to Abram when He was beginning to build a nation dedicated to His purposes.  Through this nation would come the Savior.  God appeared to Moses at the very time He had purposed to deliver Israel out of slavery in Egypt.  God found in Jesse’s youngest son David a godly man who could lead His people.  God surprised Mary when He told her she would be the mother of the Messiah.  God’s Son selected the twelve disciples, all ordinary, uneducated men, when He was ready to take the good news of His salvation to the world.  Through the ages God has taken the initiative in the everyday lives of people to accomplish things through them that they never could have imagined.

The Lord may be initiating some new things in your life.  When He tells you what His plans are, trust Him and walk closely with Him.  Don’t let the busyness of your present activity keep you from experiencing all that God has in store for you.  You will see Him accomplish things through your life that you never dreamed were possible.

I see this played out in our lives.  This was not our own initiative, but a response to what the Lord was doing in our hearts.  We are DEFINITELY ordinary!  I have been certainly caught off guard by all that God wanted to do in and through us during this time of preparation.  And now that we are here- in this country far away from family, in a land that we definitely needed to be shown, we are blessed to see the ways that God chooses to use us in responding to his purposes.  I’m grateful for the heavy sense from the Lord to not brush this idea aside and call it CRAZY TALK.  The busyness of life easily could have swallowed it up.  Thank you, Jesus, for being persistent.  Thank you for encouraging us through the hard processes of downsizing, saying goodbyes, fundraising, and letting go of our own agendas.  It was definitely worth the effort.

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