I left in June to go to Afghanistan. Mid flight our plans were cancelled due to bomb threats and visa laws (maybe made up by the Pakistani embassy in Dubai). I had spiritually prepared for this adventure my whole life. I had raised over 5,000 dollars of support to teach in Northern Afghansitan. At the drop of a hat, the trip was cancelled. My team prayed very confused in our extended 10 day layover in Dubai. Frantically, we stressed, when we were presented the new options – to reroute to the Pakistani mountains to run kids camps or to teach english to adults in Amman, Jordan. My team fought, we debated theologically about God’s providence and will.We prayed and interpreted dreams. We yelled at eachother and cried some. In all of this confusuion and tension the Lord seemed silent. I wrote my sister an email, and told her that I no longer believed the Lord orchestrated the details of our lives. We were alone, the time was ticking and all of us had completely different ideas on where we belonged; the Middle East or Central Asia? I was so confused why He stayed silent. Three words of advice we recieved from incredible workers on the field that changed my heart in this time.
– A lady who works long term in Afghansitan said, “This isn’t a journey into Afghansitan, Pakistan or Jordan, but a journey into the heart of God.”
-A wonderful British pastor advised, “Don’t think of the will of God as a rigid tight rope- rather see it as a garden path that is meant to be explored.”
-Another man who equips leaders in Ethiopia said with a laugh, “The Lord rarely speaks to me clearly or loudly when I’m asking him to. It’s always when I am walking my own direction, stubbernly refusing to ask for His help- that he shouts at me and clearly shows me where to take my next step.”
So my team decided to go to Jordan only becauase our team leader wanted to. We submitted – even though everyone thought he wanted to go for all the wrong reasons. Still to this very moment, I have no idea how the Lord directs our steps. But we submitted our plan to Him. Even though, as we boarded that plane we had no idea where we were going, who we were staying with our what exactly we were doing, He made our path our straight. (We figured if we made the wrong choice, we’d be swallowed by a whale anyway:)
He led me directly into his own heart. I experienced him in my blindness like never before. I got to see the start of a ministry in a completely unreached people group, the gypsies of Jordan because we just so happened to be in the right place, at the right time, holding a watermelon. Long story. I learned that Jesus is the King of the universe and has eveything under control and under his divine Word and plan. I can’t even mess His plan up.
So this is my number one lesson from 2009- stay in the moral constraints of the Word of God, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in all things and when it seems like He’s silent, follow your passions. Whatever is inside of your very fibers that makes you feel most alive- do what you want. We are all so obsessed in looking for the outward signs, visions and dreams that are happening right now, but isn’t it so cool that He’s so much biggger than the present? He wrapped this internal compass in us and daily as our flesh dies to the Spirit, our desires become His anyway. Inside all of us, there are these wants and they can steer us right into His will. That will isn’t some strict tight rope. Once we all stop losing sleep and stressing that we’ve messed up or don’t have all the right answers, life is so thrilling and full of joy. We seek His heart and kingdom always and all the details effortlessly fall into place (“… and all these things will be added unto you.”)
Life this school year has been this grand adventure and for me so much more fun, with almost no stress or fear (because He said he didn’t give us that spirit anyway!) I’m learning to follow my passions, let the Holy Spirit deal with the moment and stay ever so close to His heart.
Its so much fun, so much fun– no condemnation, no stress, no theological arguments or feelings of being alone – just life as it’s meant to be lived (John 10:10) and people in my path coming to see the joy and love of the Lord. It’s a slow journey -but Jesus is so gracious, fun an loving. Now it makes more sense the verse th Lord gave me before I left this summer. Jordan was his number one plan all along,
“Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not percieve it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
I realize I am blind, but I rest in the palm of the Creator of the universe. That’s enough for me.
He’s got the whole world in His hands.