Tuesday, November 30, 2010

By Faith: Sure and Certain

Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”

Wow! The Dominican Republic, a medical/dental mission and me: a housewife with a glorified writing hobby. HUH? Even the questions on the mission application screamed at my lack of contributory skills. Do you speak any other languages? No. Have you done any other international travel? Well, if you count flying to Aruba, The Bahamas and Jamaica to lie on the beach experience give this girl one positive mark in the box. I really started to doubt myself until the application turned to questions like describe your relationship with God and when did you become a Christian. It served as a gentle reminder that God was doing the directing of this spiritual journey and who was I to question what He had planned.

I wish I could say the doubting stopped there, but it didn’t. I started questioning whether or not I was truly hearing God’s call when I spent an entire day trying to figure out how to go about getting my insurance to cover the required immunizations. More questioning surfaced when I stumbled miserably through asking my Mom to fly to North Carolina to help my husband with our four children during the trip. And then there was some fear. The cholera epidemic in Haiti was the first thing everyone asked about when I shared my news about the D.R. My father shared his own less than pleasant experience with the typhoid shot and that sent a shiver down my spine. The biggest fear, asking people for money. I found myself wondering if all of these obstacles and fears were proof that I was not supposed to go at all. I thought all of this until last Sunday when God sent a message through a sweet little fellow by the name of Jack. *

Full of spunk and ready to wrestle, Jack walked into Forest Hill’s Art Studio, where all of the 3-5 year-old Sunday school classes meet to learn that week’s Bible lesson through art and music. Jack immediately shot to the back and began to cartwheel across the room. After two laps, I “invited” him to sit by me. Following some initial untangling of Jack and another classmate’s limbs we settled into a lesson from the life of Isaiah.

The Children’s Ministry Leader, Cindy, started to tell the story how God had sent ravens to feed Isaiah while he fled his enemies. She motioned to a jet black raven puppet that sat perched behind her as she asked the group of 50 or more children if they had ever been fed by a bird, or even heard of anyone being fed by a bird. Her tone seemed to scoff at the absurdity of such a notion. A tummy -tickled chorus of laughter erupted from the kids as they recognized the improbability of a bird feeding anyone. “No!” the majority yelled, shaking their heads while laughing in a joyful unison of silliness. Cindy turned very solemn and said to them, “But I tell you this is what truly happened. The Bible says God sent the raven to feed Isaiah.”

The room grew quiet. “I believe you!” yelled a child’s voice; sweet rambunctious Jack was in that moment sure and certain. His eyes were serious and his face lit up with conviction. It caught all of the adults in attendance a little off guard.

I thought of Jack later that evening as I worked on my own Bible study. My group is knee-deep in Genesis studying Abraham’s calling by God to leave his homeland to live in a strange land. He obeyed in faith. The Bible does not say but I wonder if Abraham shook his head at first, thinking God’s request made no sense. Did he ask himself why God picked him? God gave him no detailed explanation as to why he had been chosen to move but He did make some amazing promises. Promises that only God could give credibility.

Stepping out in faith may not always follow the human path of logic. God’s involvement will often transcend our ability to foresee factors that mitigate situations or change circumstances. There are mysteries that God has chosen not to reveal. Hebrews 11:1 states that two words describe faith, sure and certain. My hang up initially was that I did not feel sure and certain about my ability to make a difference in the Dominican Republic. However, this verse does not refer to our ability, instead, it refers to faith in God’s ability. We rest assured that our Father in Heaven is who He says He is and we rest certain that He stands firm on fulfilling His promises.

When God speaks, how do you respond? I want to be like Jack—with a child-like faith, without hesitation, “I believe you God!” More like Abraham, by faith immediately obedient. I may not understand why God picked me to go on this trip to the Dominican Republic but by faith I believe God has a plan for me and has promised blessings through the experience and upon my obedience.

To God be the glory!

In Him, Jess

* name changed

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