Each day, I am learning just how unworthy I am of this calling. It is only because of the mercy and grace of God that I am allowed to follow Him and serve Him. The adventures that we are going through only show us how much the Lord is leading. We don't know how all it will work out, but that's not our responsibility.
One of our pastors has been preaching through the book of Ruth. A few weeks ago, he stressed the point of how Naomi seemed to try to alter (emphasize the word "try") the circumstances that she and Ruth were going through. Although she appeared to be appreciating how God was beginning to providing, she lacked complete trust in the sovereignty of God. She appeared to be attempting to go ahead of the sovereignty of God.
The point being, we need to understand that we are not responsible for our futures. We act according to the wisdom that God has given us, but there is no room in our futures for both God and ourselves. We have to trust completely in the Lord and His will. Our sinful, human nature believes (whether consciously or sub-consciously) that we must be in control, the master of our own destinies. We must function in the knowledge that God has given us through His Word, but as far as the future is concerned, we must leave the results and ultimately the plans of the future in His hands. (James 4:13-16)
So, this is my conclusion to this blog entry: the plans of the Lord, who can know them? Our passion for the international students at Purdue only continues to grow. Our thoughts and plans are beginning to stay on what could happen there in Indiana. We just know that we are not worthy. We are eternally grateful that God would choose us for this cause, no matter what blessings or sufferings lie ahead! Praise be to the Lord God Almighty!
Please continue to pray that God will be gracious in His preparation of us and the international students!
Each day brings new experiences that make you say, "Didn't see that coming!" or "I never thought I'd do that?!" Life as a missionary on deputation (raising support) brings out those responses on a regular basis. It's not that the circumstances or events are bizarre or weird. It's just that before the Lord opened this door and confirmed this calling to go, I would have never thought I would do and experience the things that we are.
The challenge that the Lord continues to lay before me is: are you willing to trust me with everything (which includes my comfort zone)? So often, our comfort zone becomes more precious to us than ANYTHING! Our comfort zone is a place where we can protect our own dignity, our reputation, our safety, and not do anything that makes us uncomfortable. Now, I'm not saying that we should consider doing things that are ungodly or immoral to get out of our comfort zones. But why do we guard our comfort zones so vigorously? It is almost like a fortress that represents our person and if anything happens to it, we will die.
I saw a commercial the other day for a deoderant. It showed a woman with a computer-generated see-through force field around her. The commercial was showing that when you know that you have a sweat problem, you avoid people and guard yourself. That illustration represents our lives as believers! Our tendencies are to avoid people as a precaution of showing our true selves as Christians! Instead, we should see ourselves as difference makers! As a follower of Christ, as a child of God, as an heir with Jesus, if we truly acknowledge who we belong to and that we are simply passing through, does it not challenge us to re-evaluate the motivations of our comfort zones?
If we pursue comfort over obedience, we will gain nothing! In Luke 19:11-27, Christ illustrated his issue with comfort zones and actually correlated a man's comfort zone with laziness. Quite a scary thought! Please understand, I love my comfort zone too! The question that we all need to ask is which one to we love more: our comfort zone or our God? Too often, we forget that the relationship that we should have with our God is personal and intimate. To belong to our God means that our being is solely dependent upon Him. As the apostle Paul illustrated through the idea of being a "bond servant." Out of gratitude, he was God's, period. Are you God's, period? If so, what circumstance and experiences will He lead you to and through that will make you say "Didn't see that coming?" if you will simply set aside your comfort zone?
Dennis Runner- a witness, a follower, a student, and a lump of clay in the hands of my God and Savior.