On the 6th plane ride, sandwiched in the middle row—in the middle seat of the middle row—I was leaned forward, elbows on the tray in front of me—head in my hands—crying silently before the LORD…as He reminded me of His position in the middle.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Jesus was the man in the middle. The man suspended between heaven and earth…the man hanging in the middle of two choices. Life or death.
On January 6, 2011 God sent me an invitation to join Him on a journey.
With only a nano-second’s worth of hesitation, I said “Yes”!
This journey would take me to Egypt. I was so excited. I planned it out ahead of time of how it would feel to walk “on” the soil that the Israelites walked from bondage into freedom. I expected God to reveal Himself to me—maybe even through a burning bush. Soon though, the pause button was pressed on that invitation.
For weeks, each night as I lay down, I would question God on that invitation. “Did You ask me to see if I’d say yes? Or did You have a purpose?”
We all know that when we walk with God, He orchestrates every single event in our lives. Nothing comes to us without being filtered or sifted through His hands.
At the end of 2011 the destination changed. It was announced to the team that our mission was Cambodia. Some pulled from the trip. I could not. Something inside me told me this was for me.
In prayer one morning at the kitchen sink, I began to pray over the trip, questioning God about the change. “Why did you offer Egypt, when all along You knew it would be Cambodia?”
His reply, “You wouldn’t have jumped at the chance to go to Cambodia.” He was right.
I have questioned Him about many things over the past many months…He has reminded me over and over, “Trust Me. I have the plan—it’s timed just right”.
If you’ve followed my blogsite you are familiar with what I’ve witnessed. Yet there was so much I’ve saved to share in person at my church.
The heat was one thing you need to keep in mind though…If you turned the a/c off, and you piled in an eight passenger van—oh, say about 20 people, in about 30 minutes of body heat combination, the heat you feel might be close to what we felt. The only difference would be the hot sun beating on your head intensifying it. And the smell—of the non-deodorized armpits….
The heat was unbearable at times—we had sweat pouring and pooling every minute of the day. I fought the enemy every single day as he attacked my mind. Others fought more prior to the trip—and he did try me before the trip—but I’d always grab a song and start singing it in my head. Or a Bible verse.
But the day came, when standing in Cambodia, in the heat of the day—when a song was not coming to my mind. Nor could I grab a verse from a file I had tucked away in my heart. Self was the focus.
I believe for most of us—the thoughts centered around our sweating—overheated—suffering from jet lag—headache shrouded selves.
Instead of the God thoughts—this is what came to me:
“This is just too much. You probably need to let this be your last mission trip; This is too hard. You know it would be easier to stay home and just pray for a team—or even send a few dollars now and then—but you really need to consider not doing this anymore.”
If God had called me to praying and giving—then by doing so I would be completely glorifying Him—but when He called me to going—then I’d be walking in disobedience to choose the other—even though they are both good. We are to give—we are to pray—but He told me to GO as well.
I have to confess—I let the enemy talk a whole paragraph full before I asked God to shut him up….God quickly reminded me that Ephesians 6:12-18 tells me what I should be wearing every day—and how I should fight these mind attacks.
Every day it was a battle. I’d sweat—there was a few times of tension between some—and the enemy was trying us all….
After working in 143 degree weather every day, it was too exhausting to write. Instead, I’d get up between 2 and 3, go to the bathroom and sit and write and post the message/devotion from the previous day. Even while I was a few degrees cooler, the enemy still tried. “You can’t write. There’s no way you can do justice to what you’ve seen—why don’t you do something easier…less stressful.” Again, I recognized the enemy working—trying to use my mind and flesh against me. We need to realize that he uses them together to destroy God’s work—and God’s worker.
As I sat there, I began to cry out to God, hot tears falling, the Holy Spirit descended with a cool washing freshness that came on my weary spirit and calmed my mind. It was going to be okay. I handed Him the pen, and He began to write it on my heart. Each time I felt a pause, I’d seek Him for more. This happened every morning around 3 a.m. I waited….He came.
The day we set out for the floating school was 144. And as long as you weren’t sitting in the back of the boat, next to the smoking –thundering engine, it would be bearable…guess where I sat?
The enemy was trying—but that morning I determined to have such non- stop dialogue with Jesus that the enemy would have no room to squeeze in a word.
As I began to see tarps, tin and strips of bamboo as makeshift roofs held up with limbless tree poles, or bamboo poles, the heaviness in my heart increased.
We had worked around and had fallen in love with the teenagers in the dream center for a couple of days, and now we would see firsthand just where most of them came from.
You will see in photo’s in the coming days, some sights that will break your heart—but this is part of God’s world that he WANTS us to see. There is beauty tucked in alongside the ugly of life—we have to choose what we focus on.
Seeing with eyes guided by the Holy Spirit will convict and compel you. It will change you. You may even be a bit unbearable to those who refuse to change their lens…which would sharpen their focus. It’s more comfortable to stay in the life of “soft focus”. In photography, soft focus is where you concentrate on one small area and let the surrounding area blur into the background. That’s exactly what many churches of today are doing.
We have so centralized our focus on one area that we’ve forgotten there is a world out there that is hurting—suffering—hungry—naked and needy.
What we’ve done is choose the comfortable things—the jobs of ministry that require very little work—very little alteration to our lens—or our lifestyle.
Matthew 25:41-46 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
NOTICE they called Him LORD. They knew who He was—I believe Jesus was letting those in His audience and us know—that just because we wear the t-shirt bearing HIS name—and pray over our meals—attend services—pay tithes—does not mean that we’ve got it all together and are serving Him with all we have…it means we’re doing what’s expected. The normal.
It’s all good things—yet there is something else He is requiring…
He wants to change your lens—adjust your focus—remove the filter to enable you to see HIS world….all the heart breaking ugly-as well as the beautiful.
It’s our choice—we are on one side of Christ. To the right or to the left. Just as the two thieves. We are mentally making a decision—our actions reflect that decision made.
We can keep right on doing the few things we are doing with about as much passion as a pencil eraser—or we can put a “for sale” sign in our yard and sell out to God. (Don’t leave here and say I told you to sell your house)
If God told you to sell what you have and meet Me in Cambodia—or Africa—or Bolivia—or the back woods of Northwest Florida…we must be willing—or we will miss out on more than just an opportunity to be used of HIM. We may perhaps miss out on the grandest view of all.
Friends, the Lord reminded me again, we cannot afford to miss an opportunity to see His world…be His hands…in caring for those around us. We must open our hearts..change our focus—remove self from the equation.
Deliver HIS MESSAGE to the WORLD.
To find out how YOU can help ONE CHILD- with as little as $34 a month, visit Mission of Mercy’s website. www.missionofmercy.org
I promise…it will change your life…if you will change your focus.
© Angie Knight—The Knightly News 2012. All rights reserved.