if not for the coronavirus pandemic,
- we'd be in africa right now, making progress toward our senegal ministry plant
- we would have already gotten to one of our existing academies with our 3 missionary families (who are currently preparing for the mission field) to do onsite academy training
- we would be planing a return to guatemala to spend some time with our ministry team, and God-willing witness the birth of our grandson!
- and the list goes on...
but as i abide in Jesus, he reminds me that He is accomplishing more than i can possibly imagine. his ways involve all people, all cultures, all hearts, all governments, the earth and its ecosystems, the sea, the sun, the moon, the stars, all the galaxies, and so much more!
its preposterous that i slip into simply seeing "barriers" to what i otherwise want to get accomplished.
"Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." (proverbs 19:21)
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" (psalm 8:3-4)
so i come back to Jesus. when i abide in Him well, perspective and priorities are realigned. instead of frustration that i can't be where i want to be, making progress on initiatives that i want to be making progress on... i am able to re-set and ask, "what would you have me do today. Lord? right now?"
this shift has led us to better minister to people right where we are. it's also led us to do our 5-week missionary training via Zoom... to spending much needed time on the phone/Facetime with our missionaries in the field... to re-thinking ministry vision and procedures with our officers on the board... to beginning a weekly all-missionary devotional via Zoom... to helping transition leadership for ANSL... and much more.
because of being unable to get back to africa, or visit any academies, we've been able to be available for some things that we never could have expected.
for example, we have friends who are currently helping foster a young girl who is from guatemala. she doesn't speak english and kerrie has been able to spend the days with her, not only translating but helping encourage her delicate heart, as she has been through much tragedy and abuse. it's been sweet, and only possible because of God's perfect timing.
all of this to say: God continues teaching me what it means to fully surrender my plans to the Lord, again and again, day after day.
dying to self, which is arguably the most commonly woven theme into every book of the new testament, is a constant battle.
not only does it mean fighting against our sin nature - which is hard enough.
not only does it mean surrendering our ambitions and dreams - which is totally counter-cultural.
but it also means surrendering our plans - even the plans we believe are God-honoring.
as Christians, our aim in this life is to be used by God for his glory. but that means however He sees fit.
i am learning more and more that the way to best be used by God has a lot to do with surrendering my plans (even the ones i made for Him!) and instead humbly seeking His.