Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Accepting it...with Joy

    As you all know, we had to leave our cozy home on the Nile River, about a week ago due to fighting that arrived in our town. It has been quite the week of moving from Melut to another SIM base and then from that base back to Nairobi, Kenya. Just a few days after arriving in NBI, I (Bethany) came down with a horrible stomach bug that thankfully only kept me in bed for one full day but it has now passed to Isaac and Eli. So amidst the processing and grieving, our bodies are a bit weak as well. Maybe God knew we needed something to keep us at home, taking it easy for now.
    Yesterday was the one week mark since we had to flee Melut and our dear teammate Claire, came down to visit for a bit. She shared a wonderful passage from Hebrews 10 that I want to share this morning. I got up before the rest of the family this morning (which is my usual routine) and poured over these verses, feeling fountains of new peace and yes, joy, flood into my saddened, heavy heart. I have read it in multiple versions but I will start out with the version I use, the New Living Translation:
    "You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken away from you, you accepted it with joy." The Amplified version says, "you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property"
    Wait a minute, what?!!! I need to bear this cheerfully? If I stopped there in these verses I wouldn't understand how I could possibly accept this with joy. But again in the Amplified Version, the verse goes on to say that we bear this cheerfully "in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession. Do not therefore fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward."
    And now it's sinking in...slowly. Yes, we do have a better and lasting possession. What was looted and confiscated was just stuff. It doesn't have eternal value and it's not going to heaven with us. Yes, it does have sentimental value and we LOVED making our home among the people of Melut town, but the Lord offers us soooo much more and with lasting value!!! Therefore, we can't give up. We can't "fling away our fearless confidence" (trust/faith). And this passage keeps getting better. Verse 36 wraps it all up with: "For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God and thus receive [and enjoy to the full] what is promised."
    So this is my prayer - for steadfast patience and endurance to do the will of God. It is tempting to think we weren't able to accomplish His will in Melut because we had to leave prematurely. But Eli and I believe that God sent us there for those 40 days of living in community, encouraging, and offering hope to our friends in Melut. For some reason He wanted us there, along with Claire, for that specific amount of time and He has more in store ahead of us.
    The lesson I'm asking God to teach us this week is to accept what has happened with joy. This will only happen by His Spirit. And you know what? It's already happening! My sister called me this morning, unaware of what I was blogging at that exact moment when she called. And you know what she encouraged me with? She shared how she has seen (rather heard) us maintain joy through this whole difficult ordeal. Even from across the ocean she testified that we are accepting this with joy and moving forward. I told her I can't take any credit. "That Sis, is the waterfall of grace that our Loving Heavenly Father has been showering over us during this time!" I know there might be dark days ahead but I'm clinging to these incredible verses penned more than a thousand years ago!


Jared Staples said...

Well said, Bethany! I am praying for you, dear friend!

Nan Jane Grant said...

Beautifully said my sweet Bethie! NJG

Seth and Anya said...

Thank you so much for sharing Dear Bethany. You encourage me! I'm praying for you and I love you! Anya

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