February 7, 2011

Christian like us

I recently removed a post I wrote. If you read it, you can probably figure out which post it is. If you didn't read it, consider it better. I regret that post in that I wrote it from a place of hurt, and sometimes we do and say things when we're hurt that we later regret. While some understood, I angered and offended others, and I feel really bad about that. It is true that people have said some very hurtful things to us about wanting to do missions in Argentina, but I think I communicated that all wrong. That doesn't excuse what people have said to us, but it doesn't make it right that I do the same. So, my apologies to anyone that was offended. I hope you could extend the grace we have very much been trying to extend to people (Christians like us), over this past year when they have said things that hurt or discouraged, whether knowingly or not. For those of you that understand, thank you. For those that don't, if you could find it in your heart to pray for us, please do.

So there you have it. Chris isn't perfect (and I could tell you Tony isn't either). And no one at church is either. That's why we need Jesus. We're all wretched without him.

It's been a rough year. And we are only a couple of passports closer to going than we were a year ago. That's it. We never imagined it would be so hard and so complicated just getting there.

In the meantime God is teaching us to trust in Him, and in Him alone. It's not good to have expectations of man, because man will eventually disappoint. We need to learn to listen to His voice and follow Him only.

In the end, I think Tony and I can say we are honestly thankful for the disappointment, for the discouraging words, for the lack of support (whether perceived or real). We are glad we are going through this now and not later. We are glad God is teaching us now to trust only and fully in Him. We know that if our focus is anywhere but on Christ, it's in the wrong place. We hope that other's are focused on Christ and Christ alone as well. We hope and pray that if anyone feels led to be a part of this mission through prayer or finances that it's not because they ultimately want to support "Tony & Chris in Argentina," but that they want to be a part of what God is doing in Argentina. This is the Lord's work (I know, a cliché phrase), not ours - we're just the vessels. This wasn't our idea, believe me. We never thought we would return to Argentina, and sometimes we even have doubts about the wisdom of that decision. Honestly, sometimes I look around at our beautiful house filled with all the comforts of the first world; I look at our kids and think how they have everything; I look at our wonderful life and I think of the people who are literally dying, crossing the border illegally, to get into my wonderful country - and we're leaving??? What are we nuts?!? Why are we doing this? It's just not normal. Or natural. Or who knows, even sane. But God is asking us to. He's not forcing us to go, He won't make us. He is asking, "Will you go?". We do hear His voice, and it just gets louder. We are compelled to go. We can't help ourselves. We really can't. We know we would make a lot of people happy if we just forgot about the whole thing and just stayed. Forgive us - but we can't. We. just. can't. To stay would be to disobey the Lord.

So, in short - someday, when we are in the wilds of Patagonia ministering to the Mapuche (or wherever the Lord sends us), and the funds run out, and we don't know where our next meal is coming from, and the car breaks down, and the baby is sick and it's 100 miles to the nearest town or third world doctor, I hope that at that moment, in part because of these trials, one day we can say (and really mean), "Lord, we trust You. We trust that You will take care of us. That what is impossible with man is not impossible with You." That we could pray, "Lord, send us funds, send us food, fix our car, and help our baby," and He will. It will be in times like that that we will be thankful for these trials - that God cared enough to teach us not to trust in man, but to trust in Him alone.

I love this song. It ministers to me every time. I hope it ministers to you.


Sherri said...

This post is an answer to my prayers about the last post. I love how God uses ALL things, even comments others make, to reveal our hearts and show us our need for Him. He is so faithful. Thank you for your humility, Chris. You've given us a glimpse of Jesus.

Annie said...

Chris, I have only just begun to know you, but I know, maybe just a bit, what you experience.

When we decided to adopt a child from overseas, we were SO sure about what God had asked us to do. I was ready to shout it to the world, and I did, to only receive just a small amount of support and a lot of, "that's too much for you all to accomplish". We have 3 kids, there are endless amounts of paperwork, and a lot of fees to earn and pay. Mind you, I had many friends getting larger homes, or purchasing SUVs which cost much more than an adoption, and no one says ANYTHING about that. But when we say what the cost of adopting is, people gasp and say, "how can you do that?" Now as the time grows near to pick up our little girl, we have much more support as people see that it is possible.

I can only imagine what you must get at times! We are bringing a child into our lives. Staying here in our safe little circle, doing the same thing everyday. You are taking your family away from your current lives and circle, what an event it must be indeed! An event to which I say, GO GO GO! This is it. This is the time!

As I start to discuss ideas of our future of perhaps mission work as a family, traveling overseas, most friends and family won't even agree to listen seriously. I think they are just thinking, "Oh crazy Annie!" But what you are doing, is pulling me so strongly, I can't shake it! My husband isn't quite there, but entertains the idea. So that's a start, right? I can't stand the thought of staying in our same circle, same work, same schools, same faces for another 40 years. I want to go! I want to do God's work! Now's the time. You won't regret it. I hope I can go too!

Chris said...

Thanks, Sherri. :)

Annie, thanks for filling me in more on your story. How very interesting and exciting! One thing I am learning (and the hard way) is that anyone who is seeking to step out in obedience to God's will/His Word (whether it's adoption or missions or ministry or whatever) has to make an extra effort to be listening to the SHEPHERD's voice and his voice only - because there will be many other voices, even well-meaning ones. It's actually harder than it sounds.

It also makes me think of something Francis Chan wrote in his book Crazy Love (have you read it? I think you would like it) in response to others' comments/views regarding doing the will of God. He asks: "Did you feel called to watch TV last night? Did you feel called to go on vacation? Did you feel called to buy your house" etc, etc., ...

Katie said...

When your heart is calling you to a purpose or a change, it's something that can't be ignored. I think when we feel very passionate and enthusiastic about our choices, we assume/expect others to share in our joy and excitement, and I know how frustrating it is when that support does not materialize.

I know you and Tony will follow your hearts and what you feel God wants you to do. As Annie said, when people begin to see that it's not just a pipe dream - that it's really possible - perhaps you'll begin to attract that support and validation from others. Even if it never comes, you'll know that you're following your hearts and God's calling for you, and how can you not feel positive about that?

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