When God’s Will and Our Will Collide

We’ve all been there. You have your entire day planned out and all is smooth sailing…then it happens. Your car won’t start or you lose your keys or your baby has an allergic reaction and you’ve got to rush to the doc right now (me this week).

In moments like this it is so easy to carry hidden frustration toward God because of your circumstances, but this would be a failure to trust His wisdom, goodness, and sovereignty over your life. We may seem more spiritual when life is all smiles and we’re sipping a Starbucks on a breezy, carefree day, but God doesn’t see it that way. What we call interruptions to our will are actually perfectly coordinated and strategic elements of God’s will being worked out in our lives. The Christian life, among other things, is a series of God-planned interruptions uniquely crafted to wean us from self and teach us to depend upon Him; the sooner we learn this, the better. This is because of the focus of God’s will and the unique possibilities of accomplishing that will through our lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:3a states, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”

Since God’s driving purpose in our lives is our sanctification, and since we are best sanctified to God through hardship and suffering, His will often collides with ours. Were we to have the ability to be God for a day, we might try to sanctify someone by giving them a blissful sunny day, a leather-bound journaling Bible, and two child-free weeks at a rustic cabin in the woods that looks like a Thomas Kinkade painting. But this only reveals how man-centered and comfort-driven our view of sanctification is. While our approach at being God would make people feel more spiritual, they wouldn’t actually be more spiritual than if they had been pressed by hardship to cry out to the Lord in desperation. The single person may feel more spiritual because they have less demands on them that are pressuring them and causing their sin to be exposed. Marriage makes us feel less spiritual only because living and loving another sinner is hard work and it brings out more of our selfishness. Having children makes us feel even less spiritual because these little, needy, and ill-tempered humans demand things from us and bring out the sin that was below the surface when we were single.

So how can we remind ourselves that God is working in the difficult interruptions of life? Here is a statement to carry with you and even recite in your mind whenever God interrupts your will to carry out His: God’s will, God’s way, God’s time, God’s day.

God’s Will, Not Ours

Flat tire. Sickness. A screaming toddler with an ear infection. Exhaustion. When it happens again and you’re tempted to lose it, remind yourself that God is in charge. A year or so ago news channels were all abuzz over a cruise liner that headed directly into a hurricane despite the fact that the captain knew about it prior and didn’t change course. Now picture God behind the helm of this ship called your life and He is charting the perfect course toward your sanctification. We sometimes wish we could grab the wheel and steer clear of all trouble, but the Lord knows best when we need to enter a hurricane head on. Prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon rightly said, “I have learned the kiss the waves that push me against the Rock of Ages.”

God’s Way, Not Ours

Our way to accomplish sanctification isn’t usually God’s, but we must trust that His way is best. Another Spurgeon gem is: “When you cannot trace God’s hand, you can trust God’s heart.” It’s true that, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat’, but God knows the best way to sanctify a child of His and chooses it every time. Our trials appear random, but don’t be deceived. Peter says it this way: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious that gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7, underline mine). 

Like a good carpenter, God uses a variety of tools to sanctify us: weather patterns, migraines, grumpy people, you name it. The trials are “various” (same word in James 1:2), but these are each “necessary.” So the next time something happens you didn’t plan for, remind yourself this is God’s necessary means of sanctification in your life today.

God’s Time, Not Ours

We like things to happen on time. Who wants to wait? But Moses waited forty years in the back side of the desert. Noah waited for over a century before the flood came. Abraham waited for most of his adult life before God finally kept His promise when he reached 100 years of age. God loves to sanctify using time. Maybe it’s a prayer request that seems five years late or something that you doubt will ever happen since you’ve waited so long, but remember God’s timing is best. Also don’t forget that, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). So calm down, you’ve only been around an hour or so.

God’s Day, Not Ours

Lastly, we must remind ourselves each day that it isn’t really our day at all…its God’s; and it’s all for His glory. Psalm 118:24 reminds us: “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The specific “day” the psalmist mentions is Good Friday. A few verses earlier we see, “the stone” being “rejected” by the builders and it all being “the LORD’s doing.” Jesus prayed in Gethsemane: “Father, take this cup from me…yet not my will, but yours.” Jesus gave up the will of His flesh so that God’s will of redeeming sinners could be accomplished.

Will we not then daily pray alongside Jesus, “yet not my will, but yours”?

4 Lessons from 3 Guys

In Daniel chapter 3 we read an amazing story of persecution, faith, and deliverance (read it here).

The story begins with Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, building a large golden image for the purpose of corporate worship. It was simple, worship or be thrown into a burning fiery furnace. Once the command to bow or die went forward everyone obeyed, everyone that is, except for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were worshipers of the one true God – YHWH. Despite the tremendous consequences they faced, God alone was worthy of their worship and they would not bow to another.

In their refusal to worship another, they told the king, “we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” The king was furious and ordered that the men be sent to the burning fiery furnace. But to the king’s surprise, the men were unscathed as they stood calmly in the flames of the furnace. The fire had no affect on them. We read that a fourth man, One who looked like a Son of the gods, came to their rescue and delivered them from the fiery furnace. In v 28 we read, “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him…'” The God that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted in (the only true God) came to their rescue and delivered them from the flames of the furnace. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar praised God for His mighty work. The man who wanted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego dead for worshiping their God was now praising that same God.

This is an incredible story, but what does it have to do with you and me?

There are at least four things that we should take away from this story.

Peer Pressure

First, notice the incredible peer pressure that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced and overcame. They were being pressured to bow down to a golden image or die! It would have been very easy to give in and say to each other, “It’s not worth it, guys. Let’s just do what the king says and we will live!” But that is not what they did. God was of more value than their very lives. They were not only going to live for Him, but they were willing to die for Him. The pressure from the king didn’t seem to phase them.

We may never experience the same level of pressure that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced – do this or die – but there will be times when we are pressured or enticed into doing what we know is wrong. And in those times we need to stand firm and do what’s right even if that means there are consequences. We may lose friends; we might have family members that are disappointed with us; we may miss out on promotions at work, or other advancements in life; but as Christians we are called to do what’s right even when it costs us. We must recognize that God is of more value than life itself.

Worship God Alone

Second, notice Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worshiped God alone. The passage tells us, in v18, that they told the king, “be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Only one God was worthy of their worship and that was the only true God – YHWH.

We don’t bow down to golden images or pray to false gods but we are certainly guilty of worshiping idols. Whether we realize it or not, we have a tendency to serve false gods – the god of money, the god of success, the god of approval, the god of family, the god of hobbies and sports – you name it, it could be anything! There are so many things that rival God’s place in our hearts. But those things do not have the ability to bring us the satisfaction that God can. God alone should be the Treasure of hearts.

God Allows Suffering

Third, notice that God allows suffering for His glory. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego suffered extreme persecution and were even thrown into a burning fiery furnace (terrifying) for their refusal to bow down to the king’s golden image. Although God miraculously delivered them from the flames that surround them, He could have very easily kept it from going that far. Once Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego boldly refused to bow down to the golden image God could have carried them away to safety right then and there. However, these guys face persecution, get brought before the evil king, and are even thrown into the fiery furnace. They experience tremendous fear but then God delivers them. All of this causes King Nebuchadnezzar to praise God (v.26,28,29). God allows Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to go through difficulty to bring praise to His name.

God may cause us to go through difficulty and suffering for His glory and our benefit. Through suffering God shapes and molds us into the people He wants us to be. Just image how much Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s faith must have grown as a result of being saved from the flames of the furnace. Through suffering God brings praise to His name. King Nebuchadnezzar praises God after seeing the miracle of deliverance. God may be using suffering to bring about the same results in our lives. Our suffering is not vain. God has purpose for allowing it in our lives – His glory and our benefit.

Delivered by Faith

Fourth, notice v28: “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him…'” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace and left to die. Left to themselves there is no way they would survive. They were hopeless and helpless but then the God they trusted in delivered them and they were saved. It’s an amazing story of faith and deliverance.

The same God that delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in that fire years ago is the same God that still delivers today. We need to know that each and every one of us deserves the flames of hell for our sinfulness. On our own there is no way we can save ourselves. We are hopeless and helpless. But for those of us who trust in Christ we will be delivered. Through faith in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection we will be rescued from the wrath we deserve.

Jesus is our Deliverer, our Hope, and our Treasure. Let Him forever be on the forefront of our minds.

Future Glory – Present Reality

This past weekend I had the privilege to close out the Publicans’ Conference reflecting on the future hope we have in our God who promised everlasting life to his children. We saw that this future life is a great and glorious gift of God, one not to be despised but enjoyed as we enjoy the giver of such a gift.

However, it leads to the question of ‘How this future glory and paradise affects my present reality?’

To be honest it changes everything about our present reality as we view it rightly through the lenses of the God’s Kingdom. Two of the main areas we can see being changed by our future perspective are how we deal with suffering and our understanding of our lives now as sojourners.

It changes our suffering into joy

Firstly, Paul makes the argument in Romans 8:18-25 that the present trials are not worthy to even be compared with the glory that will be revealed. While this does not lessen the actual sorrow and pain we experience in the trials we undergo in this life, it does allow us to see them in a larger perspective, one that goes beyond today and on into eternity. A millennium from now our pain and struggles will be nothing compared to our enjoyment of the Lord in the New Jerusalem. This should help us to see our current situation as just that current and temporary, an opportunity to see and understanding God’s work in a new way.

This understanding of events should help us to develop a joy in the Lord in the midst of hardship. Now when we speak of joy we are not speaking of some sort of masochistic pleasure from the pain of life, but rather a dependent hope in the work of Christ. It is a different kind of joy, greater and longer lasting than any momentary emotion; it is built on the reality of Christ’s work on the cross. Our joy is grounded in the suffering of Christ. When we view our present situation through the lenses of Christs sacrifice and the promise of the kingdom to come, we can’t help but be reminded of the joy set before us. He endured the cross for the joy set before him, so too we endure the trial and burdens in this life for the joy set before us in Him. Let us find hope in Christ and joy in light of the world to come, but that is not the only change that comes.

It changes our outlook on our citizenship

Secondly, John when outlining the future city of Jerusalem in Rev. 21 specifically points to the inhabitants of this new city as not being defined by their physical birth or national identities but on their names being written in the book of life. For those who are in Christ our birth certificate is no longer a piece of paper held by the government of this world but rather a line in the book of Life. Once our names are written in this book it comes with all the rights and privileges spelled out in being a member of the Kingdom of God. We become members of a new race one set apart for God, not only in this life but the next. Just think about it, we cease in a very real way to be a part of this world and join the next. We now have more in common with those whose names are written in the book from Africa and Asia than our non-believing neighbor across the street, because our true lasting citizenship is in the Eternal Jerusalem awaiting the children of God.

So what does this new citizenship mean for us?

It means that we now live as sojourners in a land that is not our own. We have become stranger in a lost and dying land. It means we have been given a mission to spread the truth of Christ and the Kingdom to come with those who live in this land. Jesus commanded his disciples to go make disciples, to teach them the truth of the Kingdom of God. They became ambassadors in land that was not their own to teach the people about the reality of the Kingdom to come.

We must not become isolationists with our faith, our citizenship in heaven would not allow it, and rather we will go and call others to join us in this new and lasting city. We will call others to see the greatness of our true King who reigns and saves.

Mourning and Responding to Orlando

While politicians and presidential candidates are using the largest shooting in U.S. history as a platform for their prospective gun-control policies, most of the rest of us are just left saddened, confused, and angered by such a tragedy. Here are two ways to respond from The Gospel Coalition:

a) Mourning, Longing for Truth and Love (from Nabeel Qureshi):

As an ex-Muslim who loves America and my Muslim family, my heart is hurting beyond expression.

Today we witnessed the worst mass shooting in American history: 50 tragically killed in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. The authorities announced the details just a few minutes ago: it was Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a devout American-born Muslim who had pledged his allegiance to ISIL.

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Mateen’s father has said the shooting had “nothing to do with religion,” and that his son may have committed this crime because he saw “two men kissing in Downtown Miami a couple months ago.” But no one goes on a killing rampage for seeing two men kiss. Clearly there’s more to this than his father doesn’t see. I do not blame him, though. His son has just died, and he’s not in a state to think clearly. We ought to be praying for him.

None of us can think entirely objectively, especially at the heels of a terrorist attack charged with so many political controversies. The rhetoric and agendas are flying, even though the dust has not yet settled. Gun control? Homophobia? Islamophobia?

As we are clouded by agendas and struggling to react, two opposing positions are coming to the fore: “Islam is a religion of peace and Mateen’s actions therefore have nothing to do with Islam,” or “Islam is inherently violent therefore we must see all Muslims as latent threats.”

As an American and a former Muslim, my heart is torn by these two poles of rhetoric. Those who take the first position are endangering my country by overlooking the very real cause of Jihad, which are the teachings and history of Islam. (See my article “How Does Jihad Compare with Old Testament Warfare?”) Those who take the latter position are endangering my Muslim family and friends, loving and patriotic Muslims that are as innocent and American as the rest of us.

The fact is, the vast majority of Muslims are loving, peaceful people who would never want to hurt any American or homosexual. I know this because I was deeply rooted in the Muslim community, and not a single Muslim out of the thousands I knew were violent or harbored violent tendencies. (The community I am referring to is in Norfolk, Virginia, with Sunnis, Shias, and others attending the same mosque. It was an open-armed and diverse Muslim community.)

Regardless, Islam itself has always taught that gays should be executed. Muhammad commanded: “If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done” (Sunan Abu Daud 4447). Imams who have been trained in these Islamic teachings are teaching in our communities. Just three months ago, an imam who is well known for proclaiming Muhammad’s teachings on homosexuality spoke in Orlando. In a prior speech about homosexuals he was noted to have said, “Let’s get rid of them now” (video and news article). The imam spoke at an Islamic center that is less than 20 miles from the site of today’s atrocities. Some American-born Muslims, such as Omar, are taking teachings like these at face value, listening to their imams and following Muhammad.

b) 5 Ways Christians Can Respond (from Joe Carter):

It happened again.

In the dark hours of this Sunday morning some 50 people were killed and another 53 were injured in a terror attack in gay nightclub in Orlando. President Obama has called it an “act of terror and an act of hate,” and it’s being described as the most deadly shooting in American history.

The news of such violent atrocities comes to us so regularly nowadays that we may feel numb, helpless to know what to do or say after such events. But as followers of Christ we can’t simply shut out the pain and despair. We must bring light and healing.

These horrible events of recent years have targeted a wide variety of people: military personnel, movie-goers, elementary school children, and now patrons of a gay nightclub. All have dignity as made in the image of God. The death of any leads to mourning, whether they were targeted at random or not.

Over the years several writers for TGC have provided wise guidance on how to respond. These five calls (pray, pause, grieve, love, hope) to action apply to the most recent in a string of tragedies.

Beyond the Gates of Splendor

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1–2)

Five families in the early 1950’s moved to Ecuador to reach the isolated Waodani tribe with the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time in history.  Although at first they found acceptance they would soon meet hostility and eventually death.

60 years ago today – January 8, 1956 – Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Flemming, and Roger Youderian were speared to death on a sandbar called “Palm Beach” in the Curaray River of Ecuador.  The courage of these men was deep, but too few recall the courage of the wives and children they left behind.  After their death, members of the slain missionaries’ families returned to the same tribe to live among them with the same aim of reaching them with the Gospel.

They did…

…and nothing has been the same since.

The world called the death of these 5 missionaries a ‘tragic nightmare’ but Elisabeth Elliot, wife of deceased Jim Elliot, was not convinced and wrote a book about the events that took place called Shadow of the Almighty (title coming from Psalm 91 seen above).  She was convinced that the death of her husband was a glorious reminder that God is a refuge for His people, not from suffering and death but a refuge from eternal death.  The world learned a lesson that day.  That the Gospel, the precious Gospel of Christ, is worth dying for, and those who love Jesus always walk (even in dark times) in the shadow of the Almighty.

A documentary of these events was made called Beyond the Gates of Splendor (which prompted the making of the motion picture The End of the Spear), Nate Saint’s young son Steve grew up and founded his own missionary organization (ITEC) taking his father’s place as a missionary himself, and last but not least Jim Elliot’s journals were gathered and published for all read.

We now know the story, and are grateful for it.

John Piper has written a wonderful piece describing the significance of these events, I encourage you to read it today (click here).

Also the entire documentary (that is worth your time) is on YouTube (click here).

Here are a few quotes from Jim Elliot to take to heart today:

“Father, make of me a ‘crisis man’. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make of me a fork, so that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”

“What is written in these pages I suppose will someday be read by others than myself. For this reason I cannot hope to be absolutely honest in what is herein recorded, for the hypocrisy of this shammering heart will ever be putting on a front and dares not to have written what is actually found in its abysmal depths. Yet, I pray Lord, that You will make these notations to be as nearly true to fact as is possible so that I will know my own heart and be able to definitely pray regarding my gross, though often unviewed, inconsistencies. I do this at the suggestion of Stephen Olford whose chapel message of yesterday morning convicted me that my quiet time with God is not what it should be. These remarks are to be written from fresh, daily thoughts given from God in meditation on His Word.”

“The world cannot hate you”, so Jesus said to those who were of the world spirit. O’ that it could! The Lord is not enough ‘with me’ that the world can recognize and hate me for what I am – “not of the world.” The world loves its own, and for me it shelters not hatred. Lord, have I wandered so far?”

“There is now no longer any inheritance for me down here. I’ve been bought by the labors of that great Shepherd who came from afar to gain me as His bride. Lead on, Lord, whatever God’s command is or wherever He may lead, I am now ready to go.”

“God, I pray, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn up for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one like Yours, Lord Jesus.”

“Lord, I know Thou art with me, but I fear that because my life is barren for Thee so much of the time, that You gain little glory from being with me. I pray Thee, make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life might be an exhibit to the value of knowing God.”

“Lord, here at Wheaton we need some affliction to unite us in our purpose, to make us prosper, to scatter us abroad. I pray, then, Lord, for should I ask for a Pharaoh who knows not our Joseph and is antagonistic? (Gen. 37- Ex. 1) Yes, send persecution to me, Lord, that my life might bring forth much fruit.”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

“What Do I Say of Muhammad?”

On this day, April 7, 1321 brother Thomas of Tolentino and three other Franciscans monks witnessed for Christ. On either the 8th or 9th of April, after torture, they were beheaded. Traveling toward China the party had been detained near Bombay. A local Cadi summoned them to discuss religion. Thomas and his associates upheld the divinity of Christ. The Cadi then demanded to know what they thought of Mohammed. Thomas replied that since Mohammed’s claims did not square with Christ’s, the Cadi, if he were wise, should be able to determine what to think of him. The Cadi and his attendants would not accept this evasive reply but demanded a direct response. The answer below, when it came, caused the Muslims to shout that Thomas had blasphemed the prophet and to call for his death.

Quote: “Since ye can only repeat What do I say of him, I should blush to refuse the reply ye seek. I reply then, and tell you that Muhammad is the son of perdition and has his place in hell with the devil his father, and not he only but all such as follow and keep his law, false as it is, and pestilent and accursed, hostile to God and the salvation of souls.” (Source: The quote is from Cathay and the Way Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China. The date is from Internet encyclopedias and saints’ sites.)

Lesson?

In a time where political correctness rules the day, may we be found to be as faithful as these men for the glory of Christ.

All Marriage Begins in Joy and Ends in Tragedy

Insightful piece from Carl Trueman:

When I married a young couple in my congregation a few years ago, I commented in the sermon that all human marriages begin with joy but end in tragedy. Whether it is divorce or death, the human bond of love is eventually torn apart. The marriage of Christ and his church, however, begins with tragedy and ends with a joyful and loving union which will never be rent asunder. There is joy to which we point in our worship, the joy of the Lamb’s wedding feast. But our people need to know that in this world there will be mourning. Not worldly mourning with no hope. But real mourning nonetheless, and we must make them ready for that.

To read the rest, which I recommend you do, click here.

Egypt! Egypt! Have You Forgot?

A Poem from John Piper, stemming from his reflection on the current events playing out in Egypt.

Egypt! Egypt! A Meditation for Today on Isaiah 19:24–25

O Egypt, Egypt, do you not

Recall, dear friend, have you forgot

That twice you were the savior of My only Son — though not from love?

You fed him in the famine. Then You took him for a slave.  And when I rescued him, I made you know My name, my power, and how much woe Will fall on those who mock my Son.

And when he came again, the One That Herod would destroy, he fled once more to his dear friend who fed Him once before.

And there you hid and suckled him like Moses, ’mid the rushes and the riches of the regal court — though not from love.

Two years you gave him shield and bread until his enemies were dead and it was safe for him to make His way back home, and for your sake To die.

O Egypt, Egypt, will you now destroy his house, and kill His people, cut his seamless word to pieces, lest the truth be heard — The sweetest news that he, or I, could ever speak?

And so I cry Aloud again: O Egypt, Hear this tender word.  It is as near to you as hope.

Did not your own Isaiah tenderly make known My heart? O Listen, Egypt! “In that day, in spite of all your sin, together, you and Israel, and vast Assyria, will dwell As one — the kingdom of my Son —  and in that day, with joy, I’ll stun the world, and call you mine.

And you will be my people.

Yes, the true and happy bride of Christ, with all your meek and broken foes who call on his great name.

And in the end, you’ll know why I have called you friend.”

“Though You Slay Me”

One of my best friends, Ross Floyd, is in the process of raising support to move to Bogota, Columbia for missions with his wife Angela.  He posted this on their blog today, and it is moving to say the least.  I’ve re-posted it here for your joy and benefit.  If you feel so inclined, please do support them, all the info is on their blog, click here.

Though You Slay Me

I just finished watching this video not 2 minutes ago and it really cut to the core.  Many of you are familiar with some of the pain that Angela and I have experienced through the past years with loss of our two children through miscarriages.  It is something that I feel the pain of everyday.  I find myself at times struggling with understanding why Christ chose us to go through this suffering.  Through these times of struggle I am admittedly very critical of people when I see posts on social media praising God when things are going well.  Why do I never see posts about God’s faithfulness during times of pain, and well, HELL?  Why do I feel like people are only willing to show off our God in times of victory and joy?  And then it hits me.  Where was I when Angela and I were suffering?  Was I posting about God’s faithfulness?  Was I praising Him and His sovereign grace during the times of hell?  No, I was cowering behind the pain and hurt hoping for pity and comfort, instead of proclaiming that Our God is Sovereign and there is nothing that happens outside of His will.  He planned the miscarriages for His glory and honor.

Right now, Angela and I are in the midst of raising support to be missionaries in Bogotá, Colombia.  I never thought that it would be as hard and as challenging as it really has become.  We struggle everyday to be motivated to call people and ask them to support us on this journey.  We struggle with comparing ourselves to others; it seems they have not struggled in raising the support like we have.  But one thing that I know is true, Christ intends this time of struggle, this time of doubt, and pain for His glory.  He is sovereign in the timing of when we get to 100% and are able to go to Bogotá.  So we are to honor him in the way we work towards that goal.

These past two years have sucked.  There has been some extreme hurt and disappoint in our lives.  Though we may be slain, Christ is ultimately glorified and given praise.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s;  he makes me tread on my high places.” ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19

~ Ross