We were opposites from the start: he’s relationship-oriented, I’m task-oriented. I think planning is fun, he goes with the flow. He likes fruit desserts and I am chocolate all the way (still can’t believe this wasn’t brought up in our premarital counseling).
In the past year, one of the ways Josh and I differ seems to come to the forefront on a weekly (daily?!) basis. Josh is the optimist and I am the, ah, realist (if you can’t find this in your dictionary try looking under “pessimist”… as any self-respecting optimist will tell you, they are about the same thing!).
When facing a challenge or dealing with stress I tend to expect the worst. I certainly believe something good could happen, but I am unlikely to rely on that possibility. Josh, on the other hand, will tell you to his dying breath that something good is about to work out. As a result, I spend a lot of my time worrying while Josh skips around the town whistling Bob Marley. Or something like that.
Last week, however, when I brought my impressively lengthy list of concerns to God, He began to open my eyes to see what I’ve been missing because of my tight hold on “reality.” As I prayed, asking the Lord for just a little peek into His plans for our future, Jesus responded not with answers to my question but instead an answer to the fear in my heart. An image of Peter walking on the waves to Jesus immediately came into my mind and the Lord said,
“What are you looking at? Sure, the waves and the wind and maybe little fish nipping at your toes are all there. It’s true. The reality surrounding Peter, and you, isn’t easy. But look what’s in front of you! Look who’s holding you up! The Son of God! What about that reality?”
And I realized that my version of reality had become a dim reflection of the true reality. My focus on limitations, on disappointments, on situations not going according to my plan, had overtaken my ability to see God’s power reigning over all of it. And so my prayers have changed. I still ask for God’s guidance and favor in the plans I make and challenges we need His grace to face. But I have been set free to have contentment before I know the conclusion. To focus on obedience, not outcomes. My faith in God does not depend on His answers or my understanding.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” – Psalm 37:4-5
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2
These verses, among others, have been really influential in reminding me that my delight is in the Lord, not just the wonderful things He can do in my life.
In the past month we’ve had several fun events that helped us get to know new students and invest more deeply in the lives of the students we’re already praying for and discipling. Below are a few ways you can pray for us and our students today and this week:
- Nov. 4-6 we drive to Greenwood, IN with six girls from Asbury for OMS’ OneWeekend retreat. Pray that each of these lovely ladies will have clarity in discerning God’s voice as they learn more about how God wants to use them to grow the kingdom.
- Nov. 28 we speak at a Taiwanese church in Louisville. Praise God for this unexpected opportunity and pray for open hearts for financial partnership.
- Pray that God will speak through us as we mentor students here who are eagerly seeking the Lord’s will and have many great questions about what following Jesus should look like in their own lives.
- Pray that we’ll raise another $1100 in monthly financial pledges by January so we can go to our final OMS training that month.
Thank you for your prayers over us! They are powerful and effective… we see God at work in us and through us each week. Blessings to you!