Follow. That’s my 2014 #OneWord365. Seemed easy enough ~ we had recently decided to rejoin a mission organization that we worked with. Woohoo! We’ll sell everything. Head back to the overseas Mission Field.
We finally got notice that we were approved (by said Mission Organization) in February and shortly after that were asked to go down to the DR for the summer to help with the busy months with lots of short-term mission teams! God worked that out and we followed Him down there.
Not all went as planned while we were there, but regardless, we returned to the States ready to make preparations to get back ASAP. While we were gone the house sold. Our cars sold. Other than paying off some previous debt and raising support we were ready to go. Ready to follow Him anywhere He would lead.
And then the pause button was hit. When we got back to Ohio in early August, we had about 30-35% of promised support raised. Two months later, we have about 41%. Yes, praise the Lord for that ~ but we really thought we’d be further along by now. See, we planned on attending Language School in January for about 2 tri-mesters and then be ready to head back to the DR late 2015.
And here we are. Anything can happen between now and December, but if we keep rolling at this pace, we’re not going anywhere in January. And the question becomes:
Are we wiling to FOLLOW, even if it doesn’t mean going (for now)?
Am I willing? Are we willing? Are our kids? We’ve made some drastic life changes to accommodate leaving ~ moved out of the school district, the kids started online school (to provide schooling continuity for the anticipated upcoming location changes), they have pulled out of sports/activities they enjoyed, we didn’t rent a new house, still selling e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g., I’m working full-time to get ahead financially, Kevin’s working (almost full-time) AND having support meetings… and on and on. We’re doing what needs to be done on our end according to the plan.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Prov. 16:9 Yes – yes He does.
Are we willing to trust that “As heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”? (Isaiah 55:8)
James packs a punch at the end chapter 4: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring — what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.“ So if we say/”boast” that we’re heading to Costa Rica in January for Language School and then the Dominican after that…we are boasting in our arrogance? Yikes! The truth is we don’t know what’s up. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. And so we’re left with if the Lord wills… Which, of course, is a fabulous place to start.
We will follow. In the word of Chris Tomlin:
Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow…
Follow seemed like a great word. Totally doable. Follow Christ’s lead to the ends of the earth. Yes! Here we are, send US! But what about when follow means stay. When follow doesn’t go according to ‘plan’. When follow takes longer than you thought. When follow isn’t clear… It is not so cut and dry. Not so black and white. Not so easy.
Jen Hatmaker knew this struggle well when God had her and her husband leave the church they were serving in without a plan of what was next. In her book, “Interrupted”, when faced with questions of who, what, where, when, WHY ~ she says, “Why does it matter? It is not your responsibility to explain what God is doing with your life. He has not provided enough information to figure it out. Instead, you are asked to turn loose and LET GOD BE GOD. Therein lies the secret to the ‘peace that transcends understanding.’”
Right now follow means trust. Trust today. Follow today. He determines our steps. His ways are higher than ours. His timing, sovereign. And as the Lord wills, we will follow Him through it all.