Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's It All Mean?

With having just brought a team back from Haiti and then watching another team's purpose unfold in Moldova last week, there are lots of "Why?" and "What now?" questions being asked. This post is for all of us who wonder if we're doing God's will and for those of us who set out in any of life's journeys (missions or otherwise) believing God has asked us to do one thing and then seeing Him use us for another.

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forward in peace; the mountains and
the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the
field will clap their hands."
Isaiah 55: 10-12

Bits and pieces of these verses continued to come to mind each time I read stories and struggles from the team's hearts. Oddly enough, I was encouraged by the things our team was sharing, given it seemed one could read the stories and think that things weren't going as expected. When I finally looked up this passage in Isaiah and read through the words I understood where my peace was coming from.

God's word declares (and reminded me) that He alone sends out from Heaven what we need and that, because it is sent according to His will, it is exactly what is needed to accomplish exactly what He desires.

Men and women responded obediently to an opportunity God was placing before them to go and share His love and His hope and His purpose with His children on the other side of His world. They went. God worked. God worked in the lives of His children, His translators, His church, His Moldovans and yes, in each of the lives of His team and in His ministry of Sweet Sleep. Who knows what purposes and blessings He has in mind; I pray for the chance to be able to hear those stories unfold while I'm on this earth.

Before I read those exact words in Isaiah, I was still looking for the right insight. Many of you know I have a Moldovan teenage daughter, Galina, whom I first met a handful of years ago while working in Moldova's largest orphanage. Over the years I've heard her talk, countless times, about the various ways our Sweet Sleep teams have impacted her life and the lives of those she was growing up with. I decided to share about our team's experiences and feelings and get her insight. I was just hoping for a couple of sentences to share. Instead, what I got was amazing...

She started by telling me she'd been thinking about the situation and that she really couldn't come up with any thoughts, "besides the obvious." I love how Godly and truthful her "obvious" is.....

Hey Jen

I have been thinking a lot about what you have asked me and I can't really come up with anything besides the obvious.

I think you should tell them that ALL the children appreciate all they have done and that every little thing they did will remain very special in the children's hearts.

I think you should tell them that they should look onto themselves and say "Whatever I did in Moldova is exactly what God has wanted me to do. Whatever I've seen in Moldova had a reason to be seen and whatever I said in Moldova to the children was God speaking through me."

I think you should tell them that they should not feel like they haven't finished what they were supposed to do because if they had a plan for that trip it doesn't necessarily mean that it was God's plan. Also I think you should encourage them to remember what they have seen there and that the other side of the world is not that far away. They should realize God has sent them for a reason. I think you should tell them God's will has been done through them and that the works of God begin with few people and expand to thousands.

You should tell them that they are God’s people and that God has sent them to the orphanage because He knows that a little human like them can make a big change in a heart that is still in growth...in the heart of a child. Tell them that by going on that trip they have shown not only the Lord that they love Him, but also that they showed the people how great the Lord's love is.

Tell them that everything they did on that trip was supposed to be done and the fact they have stepped out of their lives to go and impact others created a great picture in God’s eyes and the children's eyes. You should tell them that the love they have shown to the kids will return to them twice as big. The kids in the orphanage will always remember them for what they did and that they hold a special place in those children's lives. Tell them that the fact that they seek to comfort rather than be comforted by others and to love rather than be loved means a lot to God and this is the exact thing that God has asked us to do.

Galina's letter, to me, is exactly the end of the passage in Isaiah:
"You will go out in joy and be led forward in peace; the mountains and
the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the
field will clap their hands."

Our teams went out in joy. They were led in peace. The children are the mountains and the hills and the trees of the field. And, they all have clapped their hands and burst into song before us.

What a beautiful thing for us to be able to see and witness. Glory and thanks to God for allowing us to behold such a beautiful sight. And to everyone....pray over the opportunities you see on the right of our blog to join a Sweet Sleep team this year. There are endless mountains and hills and trees of the field to love.

See you in the next blog,

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