Monday, February 4, 2013

Holding On

Do you remember the spark?  The undeniable tugging on your heart that you were called to go, to serve, to preach, to love, and to share the good news and amazing grace of Jesus Christ?

To those abroad living out your faith in the capacity of missions, congratulations and thank you.  You are examples of what it is to walk by faith and not by sight.  You are storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20).  Your obedience is precious in God's eyes.  There is no doubt that when your day comes to go home, you will hear His voice proudly say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

That spark turned into a blazing fire.  His Spirit in you has given you the passion to reach out to the lost and the needy for the sake of His Kingdom.  You followed His voice.  You obeyed.  For that, I admire you, and I pray for you.  So many of us here in the States are lifting you up in prayer daily.  But will you also pray for us?  Will you pray for those who have a passion for missions like you do?

Lynn heard God's calling in her college years.  She had a heart for Deaf ministry.  She learned of an American Sign Language (ASL) Bible translation project and had a desire to help translate the Bible into other sign languages around the world, as sign languages are not universal in form or in grammar.  She believed that her background in linguistics would be a good starting point for a ministry of this type.  She also desired to interpret in church settings so that the American Deaf community could have more access to church services.  She used to browse the internet looking for Deaf missions opportunities in other countries.  She dreamed with excitement and wonder at how God could use her in such settings.  What happened to the spark?

While studying ASL-English interpretation, she was afflicted with a muscular condition that caused chronic pain head to toe.  Interpreting as a career was not a plausible option.  Even talking with Deaf people left her feeling sore for hours after.  Treatments weren't curing, and hopes for healing were getting crushed bit by bit.  Even in the struggle, God did not forget her.  He blessed her with an amazing husband who supported her and never made her feel like a burden.  They wrote worship songs together that glorified God.  Lynn continued to praise God in the storm.  God gave her jobs that were within her range of expertise and physical abilities.  She loved who she worked with and always strove to shine the love of Christ to those she came in contact with.  She learned to have a missionary heart wherever she was.  Then a baby came, a little girl who she loved with all her heart.  Her little girl was her ministry.  As Lynn met other moms, they also became her ministry.  God continued to put people in her life who she could bear witness to.  All the while, dreams of being a missionary in a far off country were slowly fading.  Passions were still there, but new ones had replaced the old ones.

As for Lynn's health, new hopes in alternative medicine and healthy eating sparked her interest.  She found some relief down this path.  She continues to follow a healthy diet but sometimes makes it an idol.

In light of the miracles written of in God's word, she sought out the prayers of other Christians, particularly brothers and sisters who have gifts of healing.  She experienced eye-opening, supernatural miracles on her own body, but she never had a complete healing for her head-to-toe pain.  In her own conversations with God, it became clear to her that He would heal her in this lifetime, but in His own way and in His perfect timing.  She trusted Him, but she held on tightly to her circumstances.

Putting much faith in her organic diet and alternative healing modalities, she carried the thought, Well, it's not the right time for me to go on a missions trip.  I wouldn't have access to all the things that have helped me feel better.  I already hurt, and without these things, the pain could worsen.

A girl who had seen the power of prayer firsthand doubted God's hand of protection if she were to go abroad, out of her comfort zone, away from her simple pleasures and home remedies.  This same girl who expected God's miracle of healing was holding onto her health like it was in her hands.  God spoke to her about this matter and said this:

"Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house. 
The king is enthralled by your beauty;
Honor Him, for He is your Lord."
-Psalm 45:10-11

In her journal, Lynn wrote this in response:

Today, I heard you speak.  You asked me if I would GO.  If you were to call me to the mission field, would I be willing to go?  If you stripped away the security and comfort I have here, would I trust You to take care of me?  Would I trust You to be my daily bread?  Would I trust You to guard and preserve my health without access to my home remedies, my raw milk, and my organic food?

In asking this question, You revealed to me my idol, that which I place before Your power and sovereignty.  Who am I to put You in a box, to doubt You, when You have given me the blessing and privilege of witnessing miracles?  This is big.  This is what You've been getting at all along.  This is the fear that has been growing inside of me, and its roots go deep.  You want to uproot it, but You need me to loosen the soil around it.  You need me to loosen my grip.  You need me to walk in the authority that You have given me, authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm me (Luke 10:19).  For no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).

Lord, you spoke with and interacted with lepers, those considered unclean.  In the Old Testament, we read of the laws that said to steer clear of the unclean or else reap the consequences of becoming unclean ourselves.  But Jesus, you were higher than the law.  Knowing the authority You have, You touched the eyes of lepers and healed them.  You did not contract their disease, their uncleanness, or their sin.  You made the lepers righteous and pure, healed and whole.

Christ, You live in me.  The same power that conquered the grave lives in me (Romans 8:11), and You said that Your followers would do greater things (John 14:12).  If I am truly operating on that belief, then I need not fear the food that I eat, the products I use on my body, the medicine I take, or the treatment I may receive.  The same goes for my family.  They are in Your hands, and I don't need to fear.  Fear is not of God, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

So God, You know that I desire to eat healthy, to live a very natural lifestyle, but most importantly, help me to live and embrace the supernatural lifestyle of love that You have called me to.

I believe that Lynn represents a great number of Christians who once desired something bigger, but circumstances of this life took them in a different direction.  It's not to say that God hasn't used them on the path they are traveling.  Indeed, He uses our circumstances and struggles to increase our faith and to increase our passion for Him.  But those circumstances and struggles should not kill the dreams that were planted by the Holy Spirit.  We hope for what we do not see (Romans 8:24-25), so who's to say that Lynn and others like her do not have missions in their future?  May God's Spirit reignite their passion, and may the power of prayer break every chain that binds them to a lifestyle lesser than what God has called them to.

To those in missions, I would ask that you pray for those of us who desire to join you on the missions field but feel inhibited by our circumstances.  We mean well, but we lack a peace that says, "It is well with my soul."  We are holding onto something.  We are waiting for God to part the seas before we step out in faith.  What we need is to step out in faith, and I believe that as we go forward, He will direct our path, part seas, and move mountains because we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  Dear missionaries, we are praying for you, and we thank the Lord for your faithfulness in serving Him and drawing others into the Kingdom of God. 

In closing, I'd like to turn your attention back to Psalm 45:10-11, the verse that God used to speak to Lynn.  He asked her to rewrite it in her own words, personalized to reflect her own circumstances and struggles.  I challenge you to do the same.

"Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house. 
The king is enthralled by your beauty;
Honor Him, for He is your Lord."
-Psalm 45:10-11

Here's what Lynn wrote:

Listen to me, Lynn.  Hear my voice and think about what I have to say to you:

Forget the opinions of your family members, your parents, your sisters, your husband.  Forget about the opinions of your friends and acquaintances, Christian or non-Christian.  Forget about the views that oppose yours.  Forget about the people who mock your beliefs and your faith.  Don't live in bondage to them.  Don't live to be accepted by them.  They are not your audience. 

The King is your audience, and He is enthralled by your beauty.  After all, He made you that way, and He wants to continue to embellish you and crown you with the riches of His Kingdom.  He loves you.  He receives you.  He accepts you.  He enjoys you.  He wants more and more of You.

Honor Him.  Spend time with Him.  Love Him.  Rely on Him.  Surrender Your all to Him.  Hold nothing back.  Release it all, and let Him have complete control over Your life and circumstances.  Be desperate for Him.  Trust Him to meet your EVERY need.  He is good, and His love for you endures forever.  He is your God, Yaweh, the Great I Am, the Pearl of Great Price, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Raphah, and He wants You.  He is love.  Embrace Him and rest in the arms of His peace which surpasses understanding.  Yes, honor Him, for He is your Lord.


Thank you for reading, and blessings to you all.

Your Sister in Christ,
Marsha Lynn Hoyt

1 comment:

Laura said...

Thanks Lynn for sharing! I have a notebook of favorite verses and I am going to add Psalm 45 after reading your post!