We are in those last weeks of our time here in the states. So, in the next 4 to 5 weeks we will visit a few more supporters, visit with and say good-bye to family in SC, make a trip to Ethiopia to visit K and J, visit with and say good-bye to family in MS, pack and mail a few boxes, order next years school books, and pack some more. I am already tired and feeling somewhat overwhelmed by all that needs to be done.
We have been in the states for almost 8 months. We have been all across the country and we have visited with such wonderful people, but we have only be alone as a family about 6 weeks of our time stateside. We have packed and unpacked and packed again so many times that we could do it blindfolded. Exhaustion is something I am well acquainted with at the moment. I’ve discovered that God often speaks the loudest when I am most weary. Maybe it is just that I am more apt to hear His voice when I have run out of steam and human strength.
Sunday morning was one of those mornings. I felt fine, there wasn’t really anything wrong, but I just had a heaviness in my heart. Truth be told, I was feeling anxious about everything on my to do list, but our trip to Ethiopia kept rising to the top. I have been waiting a year to see our precious children and now there is nervousness and anxiety weighing me down. Questions pop into my head, “What if they don’t want anything to do with us? We are strangers, after all. How will we communicate our heart? They do speak a different language.” And a dozen other “what ifs” have crowded into my head.
Before we left for church, I found a quiet corner and knelt down. “Father, please, remove whatever this burden is and help me to worship you today.” It was a cry for help. I knew I wanted to enter into His presence with thanksgiving in my heart but I needed His transforming power to get me to that point.
When the class started, I knew I was seeing God’s hand at work. They were studying Phil. chapter 4. “Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer . . .” Wow, that was just what I needed to hear. As I sat and listened, I began to realize that my worry was hindering my worship. That worry was stealing joy from my life. God was answering my prayer, but He didn’t stop with just that revelation.
When the class was over, a woman approached me and asked if everything was alright in my life. She said, “As a retired minister’s wife, I know the signs.” She smiled and put her arms around me. I was speechless. I thought the lesson had been directly from God to me. Her words of encouragement reached deep into my heart and I knew God was offering me tangible comfort through His servant. Thank you Jackie!
I went from being overwhelmed by my circumstances to overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I walked into the sanctuary with a mind focused on God and I smiled when the Pastor told us to open our Bibles to Phil. 4:4-7. I felt like I was sitting at the Master’s feet and was He speaking directly to me.
That morning, I was confronted by sin in my life that was eating away at my ability to complete the tasks God had given me. I found forgiveness and comfort. And finally, I was given instruction on how to handle the worry and anxiety when it creeps up again. What an amazing God we serve.
Pastor Lincoln said, “The problem is never God’s lack of knowledge; the problem is our lack of communication.” I had thought about my problems and worried about them, but I had failed to voice my prayer to God. Instead of my worries leading me to prayer, I had allowed them to take me down the path towards fear. Those words, written by Paul, but spoken by God, 2,000 years ago, were exactly the words I needed to hear.
The NLT puts it this way, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for what He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4: 6-7