(Click here to read Dissolved: Part I )
Time passed; in the intervening months God graciously provided us with a new infrastructure. Most of our supporters did decide to stay with us and some surprising partners have generously provided since monies like future support, funds saved for education and plane tickets, etc., were all lost to us with the dissolution of our organization. Daily, our lives and ministries continue.
Yet in many ways, we are still stuck halfway across that high wire, very much in limbo. We keep things running here, waiting for the human powers that be to decide what will be… while we wait to hear all of the legal ramifications of this process back in the States, while we try and cling to the truth that God is sovereign.
I ‘m reading a book called The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions. One of my friends, hearing of our particular circumstances, wrote me and asked if she could get me this book. I’ve been very thankful for it as I’ve slowly worked my way through it. Today I read:
“At the beginning of the story, Abraham was asked to trust God by letting go of his past—by moving away from his people and his country. Now, near the end of his journey, Abraham is asked to trust God by letting go of his future—releasing his beloved son Isaac through whom the promised blessing is to be fulfilled.”1
Over 12 years ago, when we first left for the field, God asked us to trust Him by letting go of our past, of all that was familiar, moving us far away to where all was new and foreign, family and friends were far behind; normal clothes and cultures and climates seemed another world, one very unreachable and very far away. Just like Abraham, we’d trusted God and let go of our past, moving from our known peoples and country. There were hard, challenging moments, but there were also amazing, mountain top experiences with the Lord and the joy of serving Him in this place that, in hindsight, make those moments of trusting seem a lot more exciting than terrifying. We’ve come to the point where most of the time, we trust God with the past.
As we’ve followed Him down this path over these 12 years, we’ve learned much about trusting God in the moment… some moments, by His grace, we trust well, totally and confidently. Other times, however, in our strength, we try and bully or bribe our way into an outcome we want. That has been a constant temptation during these high wire months of limbo. Sometimes God whispers… other times He allows circumstances to shout: “Will you let me lead you day… by day… by day. Will you let me take what seems so rancid to you and turn it into something delightfully sweet as you see My hand working in you, on your behalf?”
In this most recent “faith crisis”, God seems to be asking us a new question: “Will you let go of your future? Will you release your plans and dreams? Will you stop struggling to achieve them? Can you gently step aside and allow Me free reign to do what I will do. Will you still choose to trust Me, even in those moments when you don’t understand, see no possibilities… then tenaciously cling to faith even when all man’s wisdom and even your heart says there’s no point and nothing left to cling to?” God asks us to be living sacrifices – our home church pastor has often said that the only problem with a living sacrifice is that it has a tendency to get up and crawl right off that altar!
Our little three year old M&M wanders the house singing almost every day. Invariably, she’ll launch into the Chris Tomlin song, I Will Follow.
Where You go, I’ll go.
Where You stay, I’ll stay.
When you move, I’ll move.
I will follow…
Some days, she sings it word perfect.
Other days, however? She’ll launch into an M&M revised adaptation. Those tsubborn, independent adjustments ring out loud and clear:
When You go, I’ll stay.
When You stay, I’ll go.
When You go, I’ll stay.
When You stay, I’ll go.
(repeat at least 8 times)
Funny – but it is also sobering, because her adaptation is me.
There are days when letting go of past, present and future is the only thing I want to do, recklessly throwing my everything into His hands and His plans. Those days are scary and hard – but also full of joy, triumph and the peace that comes with obedience. What about all those other days, though? The ones where I sing, just like my little one, that I’m heading my own way, doing my own thing, and all of that in my own timing.
As missionaries, people think it is easy for us to let go – following the Great Shepherd is our claim! Occasionally it is. Most often, it isn’t.
Sometimes we need all that we thought secure, every dream we had for the future, to simply dissolve all around us, first melting, then trickling and finally surging far, far away until we are left standing in the desert with no hope for the future… nothing… except God…
I’ve been in that place the last few months. I’m in that place right now.
It is in that place that finally, now, I’m learning… I’m sometimes beginning to expect God.
What does God have to do to get you in a place where all of your expectations rest in Him and Him alone?
1 Manion, Jeff (2010-07-14). The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions (Kindle Locations 433-435). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
(Post by: Richelle)