Recently, I finished a book called, "God's Smuggler", a biography about Brother Andrew and the work he did in smuggling Bibles into Communist countries. I moved on from that book to "Tramp for the Lord", the continuing story of Corrie Ten Boom after she was released from the concentration camp about which "The Hiding Place" was written.
The accounts of these two lives has reminded me of days not so long ago when I not only drempt about but strongly felt God calling me into the mission field. I did take what I saw as the beginning steps toward a life serving full time in missions by working with Campus Crusade for Christ for two years at Towson University. I assumed that eventually I might find myself overseas, specifically China, living out a single life devoted to spreading the gospel, giving up whatever was necessary including my dream of marriage and motherhood, in order to serve eternal purposes. I was sure my life would resemble that of Gladys Alward or Amy Carmichael. However, as I'm finding to be the case more often than not, God had different plans than I once assumed.
Those plans included me leaving my position with Campus Crusade for Christ, planting myself in a local church, marrying and having children, among other things. This husband of mine surprised me on Friday by coming home mid-day to accompany me to Judah's laser treatment. On our car ride down to Hopkins, Lawrence and I began talking about some things, and among those things was church planting. When Lawrence and I were first married, church planting was often a topic of discussion between the two of us. I think back then, I viewed church planting as the avenue God would use to re-direct all the dreams I had as a single for speading the gospel as a missionary. However, when the boys were born and we began to understand all that Judah's syndrome may entail and require from us, I unconsciously removed us from the church planter's list. Inadvertantly, I also began to let go of those dreams of being used for the eternal purposes of spreading the gospel through any mission field.
While conversing with my husband on our trip to Hopkins on Friday, I began to articulate some of these sentiments to him. My husband, along with the Holy Spirit's help, graciously pointed out to me that God has not removed me from a mission field; He's just given me one that I did not ask for or necessarily view as the mission field for me. The hospital, doctors, sick people, the suffering: NOT what or who I envisioned to be my mission field. But, on this trip to Hopkins, the words from this worship song rang in my heart and brought tears to my eyes as I began to allow the Lord to change my visions and dreams for being used by Him in, of all places, a hospital clinic.
Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray
Your kingdom come
Let your kingdom come
Let your will be done
So that everyone might know Your name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
Till Your Sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your kingdom come
Give us Your strength, O God, and courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds
Through those who are weak
Lord use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we'll preach Your gospel
Till our dying breath.
(Bob Kauflin, 2006
Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)
I'm not sure why I ever felt equipped or able to handle a foreign mission field other than a really bad combination of ignorance and pride. But, to respond to what appears to be an actual call to unsaved doctors, patients, parents of sick children can at times overwhelm me. I do feel so inadequate to be light in this darkness, the one who speaks a timely word of encouragement or sings songs of praise to Judah's Creator when his body does not function normally. But, here is a good a place to be, the place of desperation, the place where only if Christ's power rests on me will there be any fruit, the place where I can truly be used of Him for eternal purposes.
What a glorious cause, O Lord!
As for the specifics of Judah's treatment: apart from screaming bloody murder as soon as we walked down the hallway toward the laser room and all throughout the treatment, Judah did remarkably well with this treatment. He allowed me to apply the numbing cream to his face without throwing too much of a fit, and he did not bruise or blister at all this time. I was so grateful for that.
I will not stop saying thank you to all of you who pray because I know your prayers are availing much on our behalf: not just Judah's physical good, but our spiritual well being as well. We are ever grateful for the good work God is accomplishing in our lives through Judah's SWS, and we are confident that much of it is accomplished through your prayers!