Friday, December 22, 2000

The Trip I Almost Didn't Take

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Sometimes life catches us with me. I had decisions to make, bills to pay coupled with another move in less than a year, and I just didn’t feel like I had enough time to raise the support to return to Russia. After much prayer and discussion with the Lord, on “one more thing” He was asking me to do, I made the telephone call to the Ann Fuqua our team leader in the East West Ministries office. “I don’t think I’m going to go. I can’t take on the pressure of returning to Dallas, owing money for the expenses on the campaign. I’ve just got too much on my plate.” To which she quickly replied “what if that was not an issue.”

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

How many times have I heard, read and joyously sung the phrase “God will make a way when there seems to be no way, He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me”? Did I really believe it? Are they just empty words until I actually experience first hand a miracle? While I would like to deny such feelings, the fact of the matter is when things are going along in a day to day fashion, it’s easy for me to sing with enthusiasm. There is no “way” that He needs to reveal. I am on a steady path with few potholes in the road. But during those times of stress and pressure, the song lyrics ring empty. “Yeah, I know Your ways – they are never the ways that I would chose and they are seldom ways that I understand!”

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

When I gave up trying to complete His work under my strength, He answered me immediately. There was no waiting period whatsoever. The obstacles that I perceived I would face in making the decision were removed. I wish that it were always that easy.

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:11-15

The accommodations are never four-star. Our team of Americans and Russian interpreters would be traveling to the outskirts of the Voronezh region to visit the six orphanages near rural and remote villages. In an effort to maximize our time, and to cut down on the hours spent traveling from place to place, Ganaty Petrov arranged for us to stay in Burturlinovka at the orphanage for the disabled we stayed in last year. The orphanage was not able to accommodate all of the team, so other arrangements were made for some of the Russian interpreters and the men in our group. While we stayed in the relative comfort of cots at the orphanage, the rest were split between a small hotel, and a factory that was being built. (They actually walked through scaffolding to get to their unheated rooms!)

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11