Today is Sunday, February 14th.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

A while back we were graciously invited to visit Carole Wilson in Ethiopia while her missionary partner was visiting her father and church family in Israel.  At first the idea seemed a bit crazy, but as time went by it was put on our heart to accept this invitation and go.  …. this is when the battle began…

The day after purchasing the tickets for the trip my job basically blew up.  In many ways it was a blessing, but that was a very tough day nonetheless.  As the weeks passed and as we came closer to our departure date the battle ground would be stirred ever more each day.  Knowing that you are suddenly on the front lines of a spiritual war is only helpful in that you can recognize it – unfortunately, in our flesh, we generally only recognized it (at least at first) only after the arrows had been fired.  There were many apologies along with lots of laughter realizing that we must be embarking on something good if the enemy is so interested in us all of the sudden.

The next big challenge came when Zapata’s passport seemed to be taking too long in arriving.  We made some phone calls, but we only assured that it was being worked on and we would receive it in time.  That all sounded good until we opened the letter that explained there were problems with Zapata’s birth certificate.  You know that moment when you receive shocking news and the blood just suddenly drains from your face….. that’s what happened.  We prayed, made more phone calls, overnighted documents, faxed more documents and made more phone calls.   However; the passport did not arrive in time for the scheduled departure.

Plan B is now in place and this is what we’ve learned so far.   God is still in control.  Despite our occasional lack of faith, He is still in control and He says that, “All things work together for good for those who believe God..”  Plan B means leaving two days later and a bit earlier in the morning and some added expenses to make all these changes.  Is that a bad thing?  I don’t know.  I don’t know what I can’t see. I only know what I can see.  When this is all said and done we will have the advantage of hindsight, but for now, it’s all faith.

This morning while I was in the shower a silly song come to me.  You know that song that goes….”you’re so vain.  You probably think this song is about you.  You’re so vain….”  I’m just humming along and suddenly realize that it is from the Lord and I just had to laugh out loud (not LOL, but for reals, laugh out loud).  This ‘song / or experience’ really isn’t about me and I saw that so clearly today at church as I watched people live out His plan for each of them by giving them the opportunity to use their gifts.  The encouragers encouraged, the givers gave, the prayers prayed and those with overflowing joy spread their joy to us.  These are God’s people doing just what God would have them do.  It really isn’t about us – it is completely about Him!

Don’t be fooled.  Our lives are meant to be a living sacrifice.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that our life will be difficult and painful,although it may be that, but our lives are meant to be lived out through Jesus.  He created us to live eternally in fellowship with Him – fully worshiping Him – fully obeying Him, that in the end He would receive all the glory.  He is the only one worthy of it.

So if everything had just worked out perfectly, without a hitch, we would have been happy and would probably say, ‘Wow, isn’t God great? He is really blessing us.’  But we certainly would not have experienced this painful (and wonderful) growth in our faith and the training in endurance that this ‘glitch’ has brought us.  He is so good!