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I’m the kind of person who doesn’t worry.

Instead, I PANIC.

This week, I woke up and decided it was high time for some panicking.

Just kidding. But really, I did panic.

It was like for so long I (and we) have been in the dramatic upheaval of marriage and missionary training and moving and starting out support raising that I didn’t have time to panic, only to keep my head above water.

But slowly, things have settled. We’ve unpacked our things. We bought a comforter. Our rings became less shiny and our stuff less new and our marriage less novel, and suddenly I wasn’t just surviving.

And when I finally had enough time to stand and look around, I panicked. Not just panicked, but PANICKED. Like, freaking out, crying, full-blown angry-thrashy-sweaty-nightmare-filled sleep panicked.

Like a child who suddenly realizes they’ve swum into the deep end on accident, I’ve lost my footing. Spluttering, choking, gasping for breath.

How are we ever going to do this? Missionaries? What were we thinking? Really. There are people far smarter, far better, far more spiritual and qualified for this than us. Trust me, we went through training with them.

But here we are. With the title “Missionary” on our marriage license and our tax forms. Doing just that.

But for some reason, God chose us for this. I definitely don’t always appreciate it (last night as we were getting ready for bed, I told Clay that I really wish God could have chosen to make us something more stable, like an office-worker or full-time vacation-taker. He told me the first one isn’t all that stable and the second one doesn’t exist. Dang.) But I know we’re right where we’re supposed to be.

And honestly, it’s a scary place to be. I wish I could say that I wasn’t scared, that I was trusting God completely, that I was at peace. But I’m not. But I’m getting there.

Every day I wake up, I’m dragging these reluctant feet a few more steps, urging this stubborn heart to soften just a little bit more. I’m getting there. I am. I’m just slower than you might expect.

“I believe I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

I have clung to this verse like it is life itself. To me, it says so much. It says not only will I see the goodness of the Lord, but that I will see it in the land of the living. Did you catch that? I won’t have to wait until heaven. I will see it here. Now.

Oh, that gives me so much hope!

To know that it’s not the interminable waiting. To know that I’m not stuck on “this side of eternity”, a phrase to me that sounds like being a toddler stuck behind the baby gate, watching all the fun happening in the other room.

To know that I can, right now, in this place, in this situation, experience his goodness, no matter how scared or small or insufficient I feel.

I love that. I need that.

I BELIEVE I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. In the land of missionary support raising. In the land of newly-married-ness. In the land of Columbus, Ohio (aka far, far away from the ministry and the students I love.) In this land, right here, today.

I believe I will.

I believe.

 

 

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I just finished reading “Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman,” a biography of a missionary to China from the early 20th century. Read it. It’s good. Not too long, and really interesting. Seriously, this lady was awesome. She spent her life running around China doing awesome things.

One of the stories that really struck me involved a time when Gladys began traveling far into the Chinese countryside, near Tibet, to share the Gospel. At one point, she came upon a Lamasery (a buddhist monastery for strict buddhist monks.) Thought these monks lived a strict life, rarely ever leaving the Lamasery and avoiding time with women, when Gladys showed up they invited her in.

Upon sharing the Gospel with them, Gladys realized that they already knew much of what she was telling them. When she asked the head of the lamasery how this was so, this was the story he told. It gave me chills.

“It is a long story. Out on our mountainside grows a licorice herb which my lamas collect and sell in the cities.  One year the men who had taken the herb harvest down on the mules were passing through a village when they saw a ma waving a paper while he called out, “Who wants one? Salvation free and for nothing. He who believes gets salvation and lives forever. If you want to learn more of this come to the gospel hall.”
The lamas, utterly astounded at such a doctrine, took the tract and brought it back to the lamasery.  I was then shown the tract, not worn and in pieces, stuck on the wall. It was a perfectly ordinary tract, now worn and in pieces, stuck on the wall. It was a perfectly ordinary tract, simply quoting John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

That was all, but from it that they had learned that somewhere there was a “God who loved.” Everybody read and reread it, or had it read to them.

The head lama continued the story after I had read that important scrap of paper.

“The next year, when our men took the herb down to the cities they were told to find out where “The God who loved’ lived, but for five years they could learn nothing more.

THen the man who had first received the tract vowed he would not come back until he learned more about this God. T They went on and on until they came to Len Chow. There they saw an important-looking man on the street, and asked their usual question, ‘Can you tell us where the God who loves lives?”

“Oh yes,’ he said. ‘Go down that street, and you will come to a large gateway with three signs over it – “Faith, Hope, Charity.” Go in there; they will tell you about God.’

Jubilantly, they approached the small China Inland Mission station, and asked the same question of the Chinese evangelist.  He told them all he could, then gave them each a copy of the Gospels.

Eagerly, they hurried back to the lamasery and we read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We believed all that it contained, though there was much we could not understand.  But one verse seemed of special importance.  Christ had said, ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,’ so obviously one day someone would come to tell us more, about this wonderful God. All we had to do was to wait and when God sent a messenger, be ready to receive him.”

“All we had to do was wait.”

How many more people are out there, the seeds already sown, just waiting for someone to tell them about the Gospel.

Will we go?

 

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Past Musings