The Lord Will Keep Your Life: Memories of 1990 and 1991 (part 2)

June 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Grace and Faith, Personal Testimony | 4 Comments

On Monday, January 7, 1991, I wrote these words in my journal:  “Maybe the emotional roller coaster ride is over for a little while anyway.  The foreseeable future looks ‘normal’ as far as I can see.”  (To see part one of this post, click here)  Little did I know the ride was just beginning!  About one week after I wrote that entry everything in our little mission’s mother church began to unravel.  The United States went to war in Iraq on January 16, but it seemed in my soul that the biggest war was in our mother church, and I was drug into it.

There were many complaints about the leadership brewing, and that week many of them were brought to me.  The complaints were valid, but regretfully, I didn’t send those people to the source of their complaint.  When the church called a meeting to voice concerns and to explore possible solutions, I was asked by people on both sides of the issues to come as a “neutral observer.”  Due to the complaints I received, I may not have been neutral, but I did attend anyway.  Some suggestions involving me were put on the table, but in reality the meeting didn’t accomplish anything, and as the weeks progressed, I was thrust into the middle of the storm.  I was considered by some to be the problem and by others to be the solution.  I had recently read Frank Peretti’s Darkness books, which were very popular at the time, and at one point I wrote in my journal:  “I feel like a character in Piercing the Darkness.  I can’t see what’s going on in the spiritual realm, but am caught in the middle of it.  It appears that my destiny and ministry are in the hands of other people, and some, maybe even all, of them are not seeking the Lord.  My sight is limited, but God is sovereign; this is my confidence through this unsettling experience.”

The situation got ugly at times, and though I usually wasn’t in on the ugly meetings, I was lied to and lied about on some occasions, even by those considered to be spiritual leaders.  Looking back, it is easy to see how people believed what they did.  It was certainly unintentional lies, like bad assumptions or rumors thought to be true, but it hurt nonetheless.  I probably didn’t know the entire truth either, and I’m sure I also spoke more than I should have.  The director of the college ministry we eventually became a part of gave a talk about that time on patience.  Two points he made had quite an impression on me, and I also recorded those in my journal.  First, he said, patience is not a blind resignation to circumstances but a quiet confidence in him who controls those circumstances.  And, two, the best thing God can give us is not changed circumstances but a better relationship with him.  In spite of the pain, God was especially close in those days.  I was reading through First Samuel at the time, and many of my notes reflect encouragement from David’s waiting in confidence and trust for God to open the right doors.

In time, the situation became such that I felt compelled to resign my position at the mission.  In May we left there and stepped into student ministry in Laramie; that was a great fit for Cathy and a learning experience for me.  In all this, I was learning that God made me to be a Bible preacher and teacher, a fact that was confirmed even more through three years on campus.  Though I liked what I was doing, it became clear that God had other plans for me, that I was wired for a different ministry.  Another journal entry from those days is interesting in this regard:  “Last night I was reading No Compromise, the life story of Keith Green.  At one point he quit playing music in public because he wasn’t sure that’s what God wanted him to do.  A few months later while doing a benefit concert, God moved among the audience, and Keith realized God made him to play music for people.”  I too had wondered if what I was doing came from pride, and the entry goes on, “Last night, after reading the book, I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that expositing scripture is what God created me to do.”

Though those first five months of 1991 seemed like a desert in terms of ministry; God was working in our lives, conforming us to him, teaching us his will, and bringing about his desired ends in ministry.  That was one of the most formative times in my life.  And looking back, we see the incredible faithfulness of God.  Such a reminder has been needed in recent days.  God is faithful; God knows the end from the beginning; God is in control!  In his amazing grace God has an amazing way to use sins against us, and even our own sins, to bring us where he desires in character, place and ministry.  “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”  Amen.

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4 Comments »

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  1. Continuing to pray for you

  2. ” First, he said, patience is not a blind resignation to circumstances but a quiet confidence in him who controls those circumstances. And, two, the best thing God can give us is not changed circumstances but a better relationship with him.”

    That is something I need to think about.

    “God is in control! In his amazing grace God has an amazing way to use sins against us, and even our own sins, to bring us where he desires in character, place and ministry. Amen.”

    That is so comforting.

    We have been experiencing terrible hardship these past months/years…my husband’s deterioration of what little vision he had from his glaucoma and other losses that came as a result such as his loss of a job that he had held for 16 years, the near loss of our home that we have lived in for 23 years that only had 10 years left until it would have been paid for, and the possible career path that I had to forfeit because I had to drop out of college 3 months ago….and many other heart wrenching things that just cannot be shared.

    We also have witnessed the Lord’s miraculous hand of provision. Just a few weeks before we were going to be evicted, so our house could be auctioned off, a godly couple in Texas called us and told us that the Lord had lead them to buy our mortgage and help us until we were back on our feet and able to make house payments again. Also my husband’s vision loss has slowed to some extent, and he has been learning to use a cane, and has been united with some old friends of his who went to the Arkansas School For The Blind with him when he was growing up.

    In spite of all of the precious ways that the Lord has helped us my heart has not been right. Bitterness, self pity, and resignation have taken up house in my heart. I have been fully aware of it, too. I have feigned a quiet confidence to all except my husband and daughter. At least with them and maybe a couple others I have been honest and confessed my sin.

    In spite of my many sins, God still loves me and is willing to work in me and on me to help me to eventually have good character. I am so thankful for that, because I really don’t like my character very much during this chapter of my life.

  3. Thanks Rockiesfan for your prayers!

    Thanks Theresa for your open and honest comments.

    Though Cathy and I feel like a few things have beat us up in recent months, we’ve not gone through near the hardships the two of you have faced. I admire your courage, your honesty with God, and your steadfastness in spite of how you felt. Ultimately, God will accomplish his good purpose.

    Gloria in excelsis Deo!
    GG

  4. The Lord is using “you” in ways that are past your finding out…and one day you are going to appear before the Lord and and will bestowed with many rewards…and in that moment all tears of sorrow will be replaced with tears of joy. In the Bible it says something about faces being radiant.

    Theresa


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