|flying over Nairobi and Kibera - just before landing
It was early morning when we arrived. A new day ahead.
Our feet had left our much loved American soil over 24 hours ago.
When i stepped onto the jet-way in Atlanta, GA, -------- i paused. i swallowed hard. All that was deeply familiar and wonderfully comfortable was being stepped away from in that moment.
It was worth a pause.
Years would pass by before my feet would settle on this home-land again. But peace and perseverance walked me down the corridor to the plane door, and i knew, all would be well. Amazingly, the "well" part had absolutely nothing to do with anything "i" had organized or planned; nothing "i" had done. On the contrary, those closest to me knew well the fragmented remains of my attempts to prepare for our departure.
The farewells felt like they drained the blood from my heart. Yet still, my heart pumped blood through my veins --- i was still alive. i forced myself to think of the many who had been brave enough to say farewell centuries ago, knowing their goodbye would not be lightened by email or phone or skype or internet. Courage comes when we remember what others have done before us --- and how much good has flowed from their surrender.
So, i pretended i sat beside Corrie Ten Boom on the flight ---- and she had much to say. My surrender felt small as i imagined hers. And there it was --- good fruit still flowing from the obedience of a lady long gone. And deep within i listened as she said...
"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."
"You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have."
"Don't bother to give God instructions, just report for duty."
What wisdom. Beautiful scarred wisdom. Wisdom from scars because it flowed from the place of deep wounds that took time to heal. Wisdom birthed from the heart of a known God into the soul of a longing daughter.
and i stand now ---- a longing daughter.
More hungry than ever for words of wisdom ---- not wisdom that men think they can impart, but wisdom that flows through Heaven's touch.
We can't just order wisdom on Amazon or search for it on our Kindle store.
Wisdom is given by ONE and received by any who will seek it ----.
So, if we want to become carriers of God's wisdom, we must be willing to walk through the valley with Christ. If other travelers walk too closely, they might begin to think their knowledge will carry us through.
God and God alone ---- gives us wisdom.
What a blessed lady i was as i sat in that far-too-small-and-confining airplane seat. Beside me (perhaps sitting in dear Corrie's lap) was my much-loved Steve. If there's ever been a woman who walked beside a loving husband, it is me. And in the seat just diagonal from me, across the aisle, sat one son. Tall and good and gentle of heart but strong to his core, the youngest from within me sat poised; looking forward.
What will matter most ahead Lord?
i have a notion of all that matters so very much to me --- just stepped away from --- oh the ache.
But God, give me strength from You for this day, and prepare me for the tomorrows.
If You Lord, if You sat beside me instead of Corrie Ten Boom or Steve, and if You leaned over to me and asked, "What do you need most tomorrow?" How would i reply?
Am i even wise enough to begin to know what the right answer would be?
One thing --- what is the one thing you need most donna?
So i pondered it ----- long ----- over many miles ----- winging across the blue.
i remembered in your scripture, you came to a young king and you offered him ANYTHING. So i leaned into his answer, and i remember how it pleased You. The One who could give anything to him, You were most pleased with young Solomon's response...
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7-9)
And so, the answer came --- rolling from words penned around 550 B.C.
The ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
A knowing that comes from GOD --- not from men.
The next words recorded ---
"The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this"... (v. 10)
Long ago i heard a blessed sermon from a wonderful country Preacher. His message? God's Word is Living. It is alive. It is not old and dusty and long gone by. It is breathing and living today. And from that sermon on, i've practiced taking the inked words and Living inside them. If Abba's Word is alive for you and me ---- then we can live in it even today. And so, words written over 2500 years ago can roll into my soul like this:
"Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant a missionary and a teacher in place of the many before me. But i am only a child in so many ways and i do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to minister to your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to minister to this great people of yours?"
But, some with stiff, proper necks might call it presumptuous, improper, or even blasphemous to speak God's Holy Bible into our cracked clay vessels of today. So would the Pharisees and teachers of the law during the days Jesus walked among them.
No matter, for of this i am most confident.
If Jesus did not come to show us that our Father is personal among us, that Abba wants us near Him, and His Word is meant to help us, not hurt us, and that HE would give all for that purpose, then why ever would we "Lean on, trust in, have confidence in the Lord with all our heart and mind...?" Why wouldn't we just "rely on our own insight and understanding"...?
No -- our Lord calls US to walk through His Holy Word and Live there ---- even today.
What blessed children we are.
It all rolled through my soul with megaphones attached to it.
“Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.” Corrie's words still minister even though she breathed her last over 30 years ago.
If i long for Jesus to draw near those who stand in front of me ---- i must walk myself through the Words Abba chose to place before us between the covers of Genesis and Revelation.
Yes, it was early in the morning when our flight landed in Nairobi. A new day was beginning. And what i knew i most needed ---- was HIM, His Wisdom, His help, His hand.
Wisdom flowing from above ---- and from those like Corrie Ten Boom who have grown wise in His hands.
We loaded bags into one puzzle-packed van. All 10 bags arrived. God's care over us. Thank you again Lord.
We road through the morning streets of Nairobi, the ground underneath us is where He has called us. (keep your strength for today donna, don't worry over tomorrow..)
Traffic was already lively. There were many stops as both cars and people wove in front of us. It looked a bit like a spider web under construction.
(don't be afraid to trust an unknown future to your known God donna...)
Then hanging on a poll staring at me from the road side, on a dirty street surrounded by green plants covered in diesel and dust, choking life from them --- was this poster ---
I asked our driver, "these posters i keep seeing, offering help with family affairs, lost loves, manly power, etc. what are these? help me understand." He said, "Ah, those are advertisements for a witchdoctor... they don't actually call themselves that, but in truth it is what they are. People who are having problems in personal relationships, will go to them and receive potions or have curses placed on interfering parties, etc. and they pay big money for it too.."
OH DEAR FATHER...
it's the very thing you've called us here for --- to minister to marriages (lost loves) and families (family affairs), to encourage fathers to lead their homes and love their wives as Christ loves the Church (manly power), and help wives submit to their husband as they submit themselves to the One and Only God.
Boldly, right there on the many poles of this jam packed city, filled with some who are prosperous but many who are hurting and hungry ---- right there is the advertisement of your enemy.
He has the audacity to advertise his "services" here...
Oh God ---- be powerful in this place. Flow powerfully through Your servants here. Help us to love deeply, speak truthfully, walk strongly, and let your River of Life flow steadily through us.
Yes Father, i need your Wisdom, your guidance, your help. Your Words need to be wrapped around me, i need to walk through your Word, sit a while in it, breathe it in. Pour it over me, may i ride on a river of Your Truths that will carry me to the places where You are needed, lies be defeated, You lifted up, Light shown in dark places, Your Kingdom come, You, Yahweh ----- You are needed.
Oh, Lord my God, You have made your servant a missionary, a teacher... But i am only a child... and i do not know how... Your servant is here among the people you have chosen... too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to minister... and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to minister to this great people of yours ---- if not YOU."
©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe