When the World Doesn't Understand

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Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. . .For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness. I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads. Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, Lord, hast done it.
— Psalm 109:1-3,22-27

David and I have a lot in common.  He was easily swayed by his emotions as am I.  He messed up in some pretty big ways, and I have too.  He truly wanted to live his life for the Lord, but sometimes his “want to” and his “know how” didn’t see eye to eye.  And, as we see in the passage above, David understood all too well what it was like to do the right thing and be despised for it.  Unfortunately, I now know that pain as well.

In our attempts to find a good home for Barnabas, I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to fellow dog-lovers, particularly those who love pit bulls.  So, I joined a couple of “pit bull lovers”groups on Facebook and described our situation.  I felt if anyone would understand what we’re going through and be able to give helpful advice and suggestions, it would be these people.  Boy, was I wrong!

I cannot even tell you some of the things that were said to me because I do not use such language.  To hear most of the people within these groups talk, I was more evil than Satan himself for even thinking about giving away my dog.  I was ridiculed.  I was called every name under the sun.  Some even stated it would have been better for Barnabas if we had never adopted him because we’re such horrible people.  I was not prepared for such an onslaught of animosity, and my heavy heart could not bear it.  I dropped out the groups, refusing to read another single post.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  After all, most of those people probably were not saved, and the world simply cannot understand why any sane person would give up their home, family, and yes, dog, to go to another country to tell others about Jesus.  It doesn’t make sense to them.  In their minds, there’s nothing greater than living the American dream (or the equivalent to that in other countries around the world).  They don’t understand that there’s something out there bigger than themselves and their happiness.  They’ve never tasted the grace of God, so they cannot comprehend why we would give up everything to tell others about it.  To be honest, on my tougher days, I have to remind myself why we’re doing what we’re doing.

But even though I know we’re doing a great work, it’s difficult when others look down on us because of it.  It’s hard to be ridiculed and thought a fool.  It’s discouraging when people demean our efforts to be the best person we can be and accuse us of being cold and uncaring.  Like David, I took my pain to the Lord, and I poured out my heart.  That’s when God directed me to Psalm 109, particularly the last couple of verses.

I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.
— Psalm 109:30-31

No, the world may not understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, but God does.  And He will stand by us and save us from those who are condemning us.  He may not shelter us from the insults, but He will give peace and blessed reminders that any work done for Him is a good work and will be rewarded.  We’re not alone.  The world may mock and criticize, but it doesn’t matter what they think.  All that matters is what God says.  And with that in mind, I can worship and praise Him for all He’s done and all He will do.  And then, I can follow God’s leading and help the world to understand, one soul at a time.

God Gives a Song in the Night

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Yesterday’s post was a reminder that no matter how bad things may look, God will work all things out for our good and His glory. We have His promise on that, but often, our faith in that promise will be tested. You know Jason and I have been dealing with the situation of finding a new home for Barnabas. This has been a difficult and heart-wrenching task, but it looked like some things were finally coming together.

In the midst of all this, we received a phone call last night notifying us that Jason’s replacement at work had quit without notice, leaving the owner high and dry. Jason, being the loyal person he is, agreed to pick up the work on the calendar until other arrangements could be made. We had just begun to settle into somewhat of a rhythm for doing deputation full-time, but now, we’re back to dividing our attention between work and ministry.

My first reaction was to stress and panic. This was not the way things were supposed to work! In the moment, it seemed as if all my prayers over the past weeks and months had gone unheard, and I felt frustrated and confused. As I lay in bed last night, I pleaded with God to give me peace despite these troubling circumstances. And this morning, God gave a song. . .well, actually He gave me several.

The first two songs I want to share with you below. These are songs that have meant a lot to me over the years, but I admit, I haven’t heard either of them for quite some time. This morning, as I prepared for my morning walk with Barnabas, the first song came to mind “out of the blue,” and as I reached the end of the tune, the second song began to play through my thoughts. I cannot tell you what a blessing each song was, but even more than that, how blessed I felt at God’s reminder that He gives a song in the night.

As I listened to the radio in the car, I smiled as I tuned in to two songs about how God hears and answers prayer. One of them even went so far as to say, “I’m hear to tell you your prayer has been heard.” It was as if God was speaking to me directly and reminding me that even though things aren’t going the way I hoped or planned, He is still in control. He is working. He is watching. He is listening. And He cares.

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
— Psalm 42:8

Beyond Amazed

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When I was in school, I had a best friend. We did everything together. We did sleepovers at each other’s homes. We were inseparable. . .until the day she left. Not only did her parents join another church, but they also sent my friend to a new school.  I was devastated! Who would I play with? Who would join me for Sunday School? Who would listen to my stories, have my back, and be my shoulder to cry on?

Despite the separation, we stayed close throughout our teen years and even throughout college. Though we attended different churches and schools, we still had one common thread—we were studying to become teachers. For a few years, that was enough to keep our friendship intact, but as the years passed and she became a mother, suddenly things changed. We had nothing in common in more. We didn’t travel in any of the same circles or share any of the same friends. All we had was the past, but despite our efforts to hold things together, we grew apart. Yes, we’re still friends, but we’re not close. At least, not like we used to be.

Recently, I’ve felt that same sting of loneliness as I said “Goodbye” to my former way of life and the friends who shared in that. Now, please understand, my friends haven’t abandoned me, but things are not the same. Most of my closest friends are members of our church, but because Jason and I are in a different church every week (and sometimes every service) during this deputation journey, I rarely get to see these precious ladies. So, in a sense, it feels like I’ve lost them, like we no longer have anything in common.  

During my devotion time last week, I poured out my heart to God and told Him how much I longed to hold on to my existing friendships and to make some new friends, specifically ladies with whom I have a lot in common. Since deputation is my current way of life and the way of life for the foreseeable future, I felt missionary wives would make a good fit, but how would that work exactly?  After all, we’re all busy doing our own thing, trying to make things fit while traveling the road week after week. How could I connect with these women, let alone maintain a friendship? I didn’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I pleaded with God to help me make friends with someone (or many someones) who truly understood where I am right now.

Later that same day, I received an invitation to join a Facebook group for missionary wives. My jaw dropped as I read the description of this group that was formed so missionary wives could fellowship together and not feel so alone.  The group was designed to be an encouragement to those on the field and deputation. And best of all, what is said in the group stays within the group. It was an answer to prayer. (And I didn’t even know God used Facebook!)

Through this situation, God reminded me how much He loves and cares for me. To anyone else, my longing for friendship probably seemed frivolous and selfish. With all the problems going on in the world, who cares if one little insecure redhead is feeling lonely? God does. He cared enough to send me an answer on that very day. He cared enough to send not one potential friend, but hundreds. He cared enough to speak to another missionary wife and whisper to her to send the invitation to me. All of that and more so that I would feel I had someone to talk to who understood what I was going through. That, my friend, is how much God cares.

And that’s how much He cares for you. No problem is too big. No situation is too small. You may think your request is silly or insignificant, but if it’s important to you, it’s important to God. So, don’t hold back your requests. Let Him know what You need. Pour out your heart to Him. And stand back and watch as He proves His love and devotion to you in ways you’ve never imagined.  

Together, we can marvel at God’s goodness. Yes, my friend, as I bask in answered prayer and the love of my Father, I find myself beyond amazed! I pray you will enjoy the same blessing.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
— Matthew 7:7-11