To Wait on the Lord

After a period of time of feeling very weak and exhausted, I have been encouraged by how the Lord has answered my prayers in giving me enriching time in His word. I recently celebrated being in the country for two months and there was a part of me which felt I was done with adjusting and I was ready to move into focusing on working and being in the field. And yet, it seemed the Lord did not have such a transition in mind for me just yet. But, in typical fashion for a task-oriented person, I became frustrated with not getting to do what I thought I was ready for. I was eager to move on to the next phase because surely this adjustment period shouldn’t last much longer. Then I began to wrestle with what the scriptures seemed to be teaching me. 

Joshua 7 tells the story of Achan, how he sinned against the Lord by taking treasure from Jericho that was intended to be consecrated to the Lord and how this obedience led to destruction as the Israelites attempted to move further into the Promise land. The beginning of Joshua 7 tells us of how Achan’s sin hurt the Israelites and eventually led to his demise. In isolation, the story of Achan clearly states that we must not disobey the Lord. Something similar happens in parenting, if you disobeyed your parents growing up chances are you received some type of reprimand for your transgression against them. 

So the Israelites go on, after Achan is punished for the sin he committed, the Israelites have victory over the next city, Ai. While I read Joshua 8, one verse took on a whole new meaning to me. Joshua 8:2 states, “You shall do to Ai and its king as you did in Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves…”. I was shocked, in the very next city they went to attack, the Lord commanded them to take the plunder for themselves. If only Achan would have waited, then he could have received all he desired and maybe more. 

I went back to Joshua 7, and I began to meditate on why Achan disobeyed the command. Although I can’t perceive Achan’s heart in this situation, I can think of why anyone would disobey a command. Inherently, I believe it comes from a distrust, a lack of faith, in the person who gives the command. Achan could have feared that the Lord wouldn’t provide all that he needed, or maybe that he thought he needed more than what the Lord was going to give him. Either way, he took matters into his own hands. He took control of the situation instead of trusting the way God was leading him. 

I thought of the ways that I try to take control of my life. When I try to choreograph what my life will look like. In my sin, I don’t want to wait, I want to have what I want right now. Whether that is a thriving ministry, a relationship, or a sense of comfort. I tend to try to make those things happen for myself as quickly as I can. I am not patient, and it is because I don’t trust that where I am right now is good. In Joshua 1:9 God says, “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What a promise, the Lord tells His people that He will always be with them. Not trusting where God has me reveals how I think I know better. I think I know what my life should look like now. I have to examine myself in those times, do I think the Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as 2 Peter 3:9 says. So instead of attempting to maintain total control, in faith I wait on the Lord to provide all that I need.

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

So what does it mean to wait on the Lord? For the Israelites it was an active obedience. The beginning of Joshua is riddled with God’s promise that He has already given victory to the Israelite army. He has already delivered their enemies into their hands in order to fulfill His promise of delivering His people into the Promise land. Joshua, leading the army, receives this promise and leads the army into action. Joshua didn’t attack before the Lord commanded and he followed the Lord’s instructions in their war strategy.

Even in the battle of Jericho, despite the city being in an almost impenetrable fortress, the Lord had promised that they would have victory over Jericho. So when God instructed them to simply march around the city for seven days, Joshua obeyed. The walls fell, the Lord’s power and Joshua’s obedience led them to victory. Joshua could have tried to take control of the fight by relying on his own strategy, but instead he trusted that the Lord would fulfill His promise. Joshua exemplifies what it looks like to be a person who trusts in the Lord with all his heart and to not lean on his own understanding as Proverbs 3:5 describes. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

So I ask myself, “Do I trust that God is working for my good?”, “Am I being faithful and obedient to what He is asking me to do right now?”. 

These are the questions I want to continually ask myself as I fix my eyes on where I am now instead of where I could be in the future. Focusing on consecrating this very special season I have been given to glorify God in rest and in dependence on His strength rather than glorifying myself in my works.

Remembering the Trustworthy

“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago” Isaiah 25:1

When I was growing up, my parents wanted my sisters and me to grow into independent and self-sufficient women. And that is exactly how I turned out. Almost to a fault.

Therefore, I have difficulty when it comes to asking for help and giving other’s responsibilities. It used to take a lot for a friend or a person in my life to prove their trustworthiness to me. To show they will do what they say they will. If they didn’t, then I would take it over myself.

Unfortunately, this tends to transfer over into how I view God. In my relationship with God, I know that I want to be utterly dependent on Him, but this is counter to how I was raised to be.

This tension has become especially evident during support raising. When I feel like God isn’t providing for my support, I feel as if I need to work harder and I need to do more to move forward in my support. I feel as if I need to take more control. When in reality, I need to trust that God is faithful and His word is trustworthy, giving up all of my control.

“He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all- how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32

So how do I grow in trusting His trustworthiness? Well, I have to remind myself of the ways that He has already proven Himself to be faithful and trustworthy.

One way that I remind myself of His faithfulness is to remember all that He did to get me to South Africa in the first place.

This is that story.

Going into college, I expected that in four years I would be graduating with a degree in chemistry and would be on my way to a medical school in California, destined to be a pediatrician. During my sophomore year of college, that goal only slightly changed.

I had decided to place Jesus on the throne of my life as my Lord and Savior. So, in addition to medical school, I wanted to use that degree to go into missions somewhere overseas.

The original plan changed a lot more at the beginning of the second semester of my senior year of college and it kept changing during those last four months.

I had thought about the idea of doing missions long term but wanted to have practical experience before committing to anything. I was able to join a short-term trip that was scheduled to launch to Dubai mid-March for a week. But, as I was starting to support raise, the endeavor was canceled.

Still determined to go on a short-term mission trip, a StuMo staff member and I started looking into more organizations that had summer mission trips.

Each one of them fell through.

After returning to Mizzou from spring break, I got a call from a StuMo staff member about a spot that opened up on their short-term trip to South Africa, and they were inviting me to go. This call came in on a Monday.

Tuesday I talked with the team leader about the specifics.

Tuesday night I discussed the opportunity with my parents.

Wednesday I confirmed that I would be on the team.

Thursday they bought my plane ticket.

Friday, I went to Kansas City for training, and I began support raising.

Within a week my summer plans had changed, and though I didn’t know it, all of my future plans were about to change too.

To top it off, this all happened only five weeks before the departure date.

At the time I didn’t realize it, but the team leader had made a massive leap of faith by buying my plane ticket before I had even started support raising. The rest of the team had the whole semester, at least 4 months, to raise their support. And even with all that time, not everyone reaches the full amount before departing.

I officially started support raising April 9th I reached full funding, about $5,300, by May 8th. The Lord provided all the financial support I needed more quickly than I could have imagined, even giving me the week before to take finals and get ready for graduation.

In similar fashion to the beginning of this journey. The weekend following finals week, I graduated on Saturday, got baptized on Sunday with all my family present, and then on Monday my parents drove me to the Kansas City airport to leave for South Africa.

I remind myself of this story because it is proof that His plan and His timing is perfect.

All this happened not because of my excellent planning and organization skills but in spite of them. Only God could have made that happen; He alone deserves the glory for the vast and immeasurable ways that He provides.

I went into the second semester of my last year of college unsure of what I would be doing and what my life would look like, and it wasn’t until the last two months of my time at Mizzou that He made clear to me a portion of His plan for me. And a year ago this week, I was preparing to leave on the adventure of a lifetime.

Doors were closed, and doors were opened. My patience was tested, and it will be tested again. But the Lord is always faithful, and He is steadfast in His plan for me and for His name to be known in every nation.  

Though I can’t see what He is doing behind the scenes right now. Even though it feels as if I am on my own. I can take a step back to remember what God has done in my life and to remember God.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior” Habakkuk 3:17-18