Let us run the race

Friday, June 23, 2017

What Do You Want?

This morning while still in my jammies, I snuggled in my comfy chair to enjoy my cozy reading nook with my Bible in hand and opened. As though from the heavens, I heard this loud and clear. “What do you want?"

I could almost feel the vibration of God’s voice speaking to me through His Word. Reading in John Chapter 1, I wondered why Jesus turned around and asked this question to the two disciples who followed behind Him, "What do you want?" Don't you wonder, too?

A few years ago (when I had no fear of walking my neighborhood in the dark) I walked outside to check on things before bed. The quietness eased my soul as I enjoyed stars twinkling overhead as if they danced to music. The wind rustled the bushes, and nearby barking dogs aroused my curiosity. Unafraid of the darkness, I opened our gate and checked around. Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking. If there had been a danger I would have found myself smack in it–– unprotected and alone. 

Nevertheless, I walked the road and found relief that nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At the time, no streetlights illuminated the road and neighbors were few and far between. Bolivia seemed to be untouched by things going on around the world like theft and murder. Times changed. The internet arrived, and yes, TV programs from outside this ancient Quechua culture flooded young minds. In our neck of the woods, outside the city lights and noise, we’d seldom seen or heard of these dangers. Those days are gone.

But, that night, one thing robbed my peace and safety––the wind. While on the road, a rushing wind blew our gate shut with a bang. We had no doorbell because kids rang it then promptly ran away––usually at 1 am. Doorbells were a novelty (and still rare) in this remote village and hard to resist. We didn’t hesitate to disconnect the modern menace.

Alone, unafraid but frustrated, I jumped with a kangaroo spring to my feet and screamed for help at the top of my voice until hoarse. Why I don’t know. My husband had long been asleep upstairs, and even if he’d been awake, he would not have heard my voice from afar. So what to do? Our wall was too high to scale. And, to enter from the back of the property was out of the question. We only had barbed wire around the property, but I’d have to climb a path of bushes and thorns and who knows what animals or creatures lurked in the dark. So I decided to walk the dirt road to our classrooms and attempt entry from there.

The darkness hugged me, and the brisk air chilled my bones. Garbed with only my PJs, I walked the lonely road. Suddenly, I became aware of footsteps behind me. Who walked behind me? What did they want? A moonless night left no clue to the one who followed me.

Out of the darkness came a voice, “Dona Margarita, what are you doing out here in the cold and dark all alone?” Relief, a familiar voice. Hernan, a teen boy who attended our classes, shined his flashlight. He walked to his home up the mountain each night after special classes at the school near us. We approached our classrooms, and his robust voice awoke our ministry helpers who lived near our classrooms. They opened the gate, and I basked in the safety and comfort of home.

At first, I’d thought about shouting to the follower behind me, “What do you want?” But, I hesitated. Jesus didn’t hesitate to ask His followers what they wanted. We shouldn't hesitate to tell Him what we want. That dark and cold night, I asked God for an open door and thanked Him for how it opened.

Two disciples were following Jesus when he turned and asked the question. “Turning around, Jesus saw them and asked, “What do you want?” (John 1:38 NIV).

Have you thought about what you want from Jesus today? How about making a list of those things? We can be honest with Him and tell Him what’s on our hearts. He wants us to talk to Him. 

Maybe Jesus asked the question of His followers because He wanted to know if they were following out of curiosity, personal gain, or purposes other than His purpose. Yes, He already knew, but did they know? Are we following Him for our purpose to advance our cause and or to accomplish His purpose and cause? 

Ponder Jesus’ words today. “What do you want?”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Eternal Changes

Getting old is scary-–at least for me. Life changes as we age. As a missionary, I know I can’t be on the field until I’m ninety unless God does reverse aging in my body and so far I haven’t seen that happen to anyone. Or, have I?

Thinking of going home to the States will be a step of faith if that day comes down the road. Funny, huh? Especially when you think what a step of faith it took to leave for the field the first time. My greatest fear is that maybe suddenly I will start walking around our village naked and no one will call my husband because they know he won’t remember who I am anyway.

But humor aside, it's scary. Change is scary. We avoid it if possible. At times, life doesn’t give us a choice to change. It thrusts us into change, sometimes in devastating ways—loss of job, divorce, and the hardest of all changes, death to those we love––even our pets’ death.

But, isn’t it comforting to know God never changes? He is with us in our changes and uncertainty and always has our good in mind. My change these last few weeks hit unexpectedly. A tennis elbow and golf elbow diagnosis. No, I’m not an athlete and never hit the links or the courts—except when my feet are up watching sports on TV.

But, my fingers and arms get plenty of exercise on the computer. In some ways, I have enjoyed the pause from the computer, but today my computer fast ends—my arm is improving. Just as we shouldn’t abuse our arm or any part of our body, we shouldn’t abuse our soul by overdoing life in general. Now and then, it’s good to come apart. After all, Jesus did from time to time.

Are you following the example of Jesus? Take a break. Everything looks much less urgent when we concentrate on the eternal things first. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it till 90 on the field just because I looked for timely pauses and concentrated on the eternal instead of the temporary. Simple, but hard.

God set us apart eternally! We can live apart from the world daily because it is our eternal state. Eternal pauses rest the soul as well as the body. Today and the days that follow, I’m attempting to make temporary changes in order to make eternal differences with eternal changes. How about you?

 “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace,” (Galatians 1:5 NIV).