As our winding story nears yet another “bend,” our necks are craned, but we can’t (YET) see which direction the river flows from here.
Within a week, we are scheduled to hear back from the “committee” whose decision will either send our boat down one leg of the river:
- running a family business each summer in Colorado
or down another:
- what we’re calling “plan B.” (details TBD)
One funny truth about following Jesus is that whatever LOOKED LIKE “plan B” to you was actually, always, sovereignly, “Plan A.” You just didn’t know it, and so because you focused so much on what you perceived to be “plan A”– it looks like the back-up, the unexpected, the not-as-ideal.
So here we are, waiting, again. Wondering if what we think of as “plan A” will be God’s actual plan for us.
I’m finding that the “faith muscles” that helped me endure through old trials “back there” are the same ones my body is using now. Like a jukebox, my brain is playing old familiar tunes, and the lines include:
- “God is all 3: good, wise, and sovereign.”
- “We can trust Him, either way.”
- “He’s going to do what is best, according to His plans”.
- “His sovereign plan is not just for me/us, but includes our children. He’s working out His plans for them! I don’t have to be afraid!”
- “What is beyond OUR control is not beyond His control.”
- “He will abundantly provide all that we need.”
In the last 3 months, we (1) launched our oldest son into adult life (he’s thriving at bootcamp), (2) moved out of our home (due to lay off), and (3) took a 2- month road trip around the southeast United States.
But now, as I sit here, while we wait for the committee to decide about our loan package, there’s nothing for me to *DO*.
While we traveled, my jobs were myriad: pack, clean, consult with Doug about upcoming plans & make the executive decisions, move the laundry along, scan travel sites for recently-discounted last-minute lodging, grocery shop for the next week-(ish)-worth of meals, locate the closest USPS drop box to send off the most recent letter to our Marine recruit, find good hikes, keep the little boys’ naps going, keep the campfire going.
But we’re not traveling anymore.
Oh, yes, there are kids to feed and videos to edit and friends to see while we can. But stopping in one place has brought the stress of waiting up to the forefront.
Yesterday I yelled at the kids. That old enemy (my lack of self-control) reared its ugly head again.
One time, epochs ago, I met a real-life missionary. He was a dad with 4 or 5 kids, and I asked:
“how do you do it– jet lag, irregular nap times, weird meals, moves?!”
I was wanting a formula– the way to get through unscathed. But his answer reeked of flesh and blood. The way our humanity — our need for sleep, food, normalcy– impacts us. The bloody wreckage that happens when we are weak, tired, and grumpy, and then bump up against one another.
His answer to my question, “how do you do it?” surprised me then. It chastens me now.
“We apologize and ask forgiveness. A LOT. Even more so in times of stress and change.”
Our human inability to “get it together” & the carnage of our interactions with one another all highlight the deep need we have for the flesh and blood of Jesus.
I still see glimpses of that hoping-for-a-formula desire in my own heart. I want to find the person who has the answers and then pattern my life after them. I want to find the way through so that there’s less pain all around, and no more need for apologies.
It’s not a wrong desire. It’s a heavenly desire. But it’s ultimately a desire to find some way of salvation other than the Gospel.
Humans– even humans who follow Jesus… even MISSIONARY humans who follow Jesus– are never going to be perfect. But we depend on the one who IS.
And even when we’re stuck in limbo-land, He’s here.
Providing everything we need for today.
Preserving and advancing the faith He built in years past.
Giving us grace to wait.
Giving us grace to forgive.
Giving us people around us who tell us the truth.
Giving us grace to seek forgiveness when we’ve yelled.
Right here in the stale room of limbo-land, that old jukebox plays: He’s good, wise, and sovereign. He sees. He’s providing. He’s working out His plans for us.
God is WITH us.