Friday, January 18, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” ~ Jeremiah 33:3

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7

There have certainly been times in my life when I felt that the Lord wasn’t hearing me … or at least not answering. Maybe it was because I wasn’t listening closely enough. Maybe it was because he answered me in a way I refused to hear. Who knows? But, sometimes God chooses to answer in exceptional ways that demonstrate how truly in tune with us he really is.

In January 2004, immediately after I finally clearly felt God’s call to apply for this certain mission venture (my husband had been feeling it for years), we began the application process. I was absolutely certain that God had called us to do this, but still there was something inside me that was unsettled. I prayed many times, “Lord, if you want us to do this, fine. But, if you don’t want us to do this, then, I know this is a lot to ask, but, please (yes, I was begging) stop the process. I don’t care if it’s the last minute … or completely humiliating. Just stop the process.”

Time went on, as it typically does, and I continued to pray almost these exact words many, many times per week. Something in me knew I wasn’t ready. Something in me knew we were on track to crash. I just couldn’t pinpoint it. And while I knew that if God did open this door then he would see us through it, I was still nervous. Just stop the process … last minute … completely humiliating …

June came and we received word of our acceptance. That’s it, I thought. God’s going to let us do this. Okay, here we go. When we went to Florida in July for training, things quickly got ugly. Personal things, I mean. The training was great, we loved the people, etc. But, inside I was just ugly. I don’t think I had really prayed the above prayer since our acceptance ‘cause I figured we had God’s answer, but God has a good memory.

Ten days into the fourteen, we were called in to the counseling office. Years of grief all came pouring forth: the depression, my brother, feelings of inadequacy, frustrated relationships. All the ugliness of my humanity lay bare on the table in front of these people who were charged to care for us no matter what it took. We were four days out from going home on Active pre-field status, four days out from beginning to raise our support.

It was the last minute.

And it was completely humiliating.

Over the next week or so, God gently spoke to my spirit words that I really didn’t want to hear.

What did you say?

What do you mean, what did I say?

What did you say?

Um … I said … that I wanted you to stop the process …

Uh huh.

…Even if it was the last minute …


And, even if it was completely … humiliating.

(God paused for effect.)

But, God, don’t listen to me!! I don’t know what I’m talking about. I didn’t mean it!

But as I began to realize what God was doing, His unexplainable peace came over me and, after a few moments, I had to laugh. God knew what it would take to bring me to the point of getting the help I needed. (He knows how stubborn I am, you see.) He knew I had to be taken to the very end of myself, to the point where I had no choice. And, he has a sense of humor.

Even though the experience was last minute, and even though it was, at least at the time, completely humiliating, through it God was showing me a peculiar glimmer of his grace. It was like he had a big ol’ knowing smile on his face and was saying to me, “I am listening to you. I hear every word. And, yes, I am faithful to answer you.”

Yeah, no kidding. =)

1 comment :

  1. Hey Sharon,
    How are you? It has been a long time!
    Tim is Chris's brother. =20
    I am glad you sent me your blog- I will keep up with it!
    Blessings to you!


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