Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lie - "I shouldn't have to suffer"

I have been processing this idea for quite a few months. When we first returned to the States for our time of rest and refreshment, we also knew that this year was a chance for us to pray about our future and whether we could/should return to South Sudan as a family, even in the country's unstable and more dangerous state.

During the first months after the fighting started in South Sudan my main question was: Should we really go back into South Sudan, specifically Upper Nile State which seems to be the most volatile area due to the fact that it is the homeland of the two warring tribes.

But as we have prayed and asked God for wisdom, I have realized a few, very key things.
1. It is a lie that we feed ourselves that we should not have to suffer.
2. Our calling hasn't changed just because circumstances have changed.
3. We are not in the business of saving ourselves, (our lives) but of  God saving others.

Think of this verse, ponder it for a little while - Matthew 10:39 ---
" If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it."

Arthur Mathews, a missionary to China during the 1940's said, "We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our cherished hopes and convenience, and we shape our decisions and reactions accordingly. When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek His perspective, but to ask him to deflect the trouble. Our self-concern takes priority over whatever it is that God might be trying to do through the trouble..."

If we don't trust the heart and intentions of God, we will naturally resist suffering. 

So as William Law, a Puritan author from the 1600's exhorted: "Receive every inward an outward trouble, every disappointment, pain, uneasiness, temptation, darkness, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a true opportunity and blessed occasion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with they self-denying, suffering Savior."

We say we want to be like Jesus and then we resist the very instrument God chooses to fulfill that desire! In the book of 1 Peter, Peter even went so far as to say that suffering IS our calling - not just for missionaries or apostles or people in the ministry but for every follower of Jesus! Look at 1 Peter 2:21 written at the top of this blog.

Eli and I continue to wrestle with many thoughts and questions but in the depth of our hearts we have peace because we know God holds our family of five in His strong, very capable hands. Will you pray for us specifically in the month of November? In November we plan to decide what we will do and where we will go in this next term of ministry among the Southern Sudanese people. We know that as we come together to seek the Lord, He WILL lead us.


Luke Holzmann said...

Lord, give wisdom and direction. Lead where You will and give grace for the Faders to follow. Watch over them and may Your loving-kindness give them rest and Your joy be their strength.

Lord, we do also ask for peace in Sudan. Would You continue to work in hearts and minds there that peace would reign through You and the longstanding violence would cease.



Sandy said...

Praying with you, Bethany and Eli. With much love, the Quinns

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning, how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Sudan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Sudan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez