"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Monday, June 25, 2012

(we have some new posts in the works, but nothing finished yet.  found some things that we started quite a long time ago that I'm gonna work on throwing up.  we'll see where they go...)


In an irony that I won’t discuss, the kids and I are back where we were 5 years ago, starting our cycle of home school curriculum.  Each year we read missionary stories, that year was our first time.  It is interesting the things I pick up on this time around. 
This year one of them was Amy Carmichael, you know, the failed Japanese missionary.  Oh?  You didn’t know she “failed” in Japan before going to India?  She couldn’t handle it (physically).  Guess you’ll have to read her story sometime.  (We used “Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems” by Janet & Geoff Benge from YWAM Publishing.)
During her time in India, Amy Carmichael did a lot of writing.  One of her manuscripts, “Things As They Are” was just that-a book on the way things were in India where she was ministering.  She had sent this manuscript off to the Keswick committee in England for publishing.  She received it back with a nice note thanking her, but suggesting a few small changes.  It seemed a tad bit too depressing for them-maybe it needed a lighter touch, more happy stories.  Amy was confronted with the desire of Christians for “happy missionary, happy ending” stories.  Hmm, seems familiar.  Eventually, two women who had come to see Amy’s work firsthand took the manuscript back and made sure it was published.
It just struck me that still, all these years later, we still (only) want the happy endings.  We don’t want to know how hard missionary work is, especially in heavily un-Christian lands.   We don’t want to know if it doesn’t seem like we are “winning.”  Why is that?  Are we stuck trying to convince ourselves that “with Jesus all things are possible?”  Well, maybe they are-but it doesn’t mean they are all that pretty or easy or rose-colored.  There is a hard-fought spiritual war going on-not just for the people of the land, but also for each missionary’s mind and soul.  Wouldn’t you want to know how hard things are so you might pray earnestly?

Sure, there is balance as you don't want to overly discourage either.  But sometimes a missionary just needs you to know how "things (really) are".  I just read a blog from a gal we went to missionary training with years ago.  Yeah-she laid out how hard things were for her, how it was going through those hard times, and yes-how she is coming out on the other end. 

I guess I may just be different.  I enjoy hearing how God has used a process, a trial, an uncomfortableness to grow someone.  It really gives me hope I guess, knowing my own struggles.

I was gonna write something else about this, but I guess it fits in here.  Many of you have perhaps heard how Steve Saint with I-TEC down in Florida had an accident and was/is paralyzed.  I have not heard the latest.  I did watch a short video where he boldly proclaimed his faith and even challenged (everyone) to step out in faith where ever God may be calling them.  Great testimony.  I am not taking away from that at all, I just had a few thoughts, and this is just a media to share where we all bring in our own perceptions, so any disrespect is definitely unintended. Recently a young man I knew from bible school went home to be with the Lord.  And before he died, he lamented, alot.  And my impression from his blog is that some well-meaning Christian friends encouraged him not to (at least publicly?).  That's just what I read into it, I may be wrong.
Anyway, I guess where I am going is a comparison.  Which of course isn't a comparison because you are looking at two very different things (death/paralyzation, younger man/older man).   And I guess it is not comparison really.  I don't know what it is.  Anyway, someone made the comment that I wish my faith would have been that strong (in regards to Steve's video).  
My first thought is I hope that is really how Steve is feeling, that this isn't to help make other people feel better.  But then look at his life and all he went through, yeah-what else could it be but genuine?  You would expect that kind of a response from him based on the way he has lived his life.
And then I think of Jer and how he lamented and how that was really okay to.  "pardon any unintended disrespect for shiny happy responses to my pain, but if i may be so honest: this really stinks, and it’s much appreciated when you agree."

So somewhere in the midst of whatever you are going through-both sides are okay, acceptable, even sanctified.  God knows your heart.  Be real with Him, be honest.  Be free to share you pain with others.  A mustard seed of faith-that's all you need.  And God is there, looking at your heart, feeling your pain and struggles, wanting and waiting to comfort you.  I consider Jeremy and Steve great men of faith.  And you know what, I consider my husband a great man of faith too.  It has not been easy these past few years.  His wound was so.so.so.deep.  And He was angry and disappointed with God, and he let Him know it.  But there was still that mustard seed of faith that wouldn't let him completely walk away.  And God was waiting, waiting to catch him, and he has a deeper and fuller understanding of God's love than he ever has before.

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