I looked at the EMT while he carefully slid me into the back of the ambulance and said, “This cannot be happening. I’m moving to another country in a few months.” He smiled and said nothing that I remember. My less-than-graceful dive during a volleyball game begat herniated discs protruding out the back of my neck. My thoughts scanned the upcoming time line and I vehemently kicked against what I knew had happened in lieu of these things. “Crazy!” I said, then winced and shook as my body began to react to the pain.
Fast forward to a few months and a few days, as I lay in bed in a foreign room, in a foreign country, listening to a foreign language between a father and a five year old little boy. I tried to turn over and winced at the sharp stab in my neck. After months of medical treatment, physical therapy, and a 50/50 prognosis of recovery, I walked forward in faith on the missionary path the Lord had laid out clearly for me many months previous. I had no health insurance and was told I could not get medical care unless I flew back to the states. So here I lay, a single missionary sent to help a small church in Croatia, yet needing to be cared for by the pastor and his family. I definitely qualified for whatever prize heralded the worst missionary in history. I sighed deep and thought, “This is crazy. I’ve never felt more inept.”
Fast forward twenty-one years to this day. (You know where I’m going.) So many conversations these last couple of days have included the words “insane,” “scary,” and “this cannot be happening.” I truly believe that fear, panic, and hysteria are much more contagious than COVID-19. The strongest believers who generally have tremendous faith, are surprised by the doubts and uncertainties that are surfacing in their hearts as the days progress. But I don’t believe this is the time to criticize or ridicule anyone.
The Lord revealed to me on the mission field how many fears I actually had, despite what others saw as faith in selling almost all I had, leaving home, country, family, and friends. He knew how desperately I needed to see myself and my relationship with Him in truth, and it required a stripping of all the things I had come to trust in without knowing it. Some of the greatest treasures I have ever received from the Lord, have been gift-wrapped in circumstances of personal pain, deep suffering, soul loss, and times of uncertainty.
“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” ~ Corrie TenBoom
I wonder how many times I have heard that quote or shared it…all the while I had a steady income, fleshly comforts, and loved ones in my life. I shake my own head and think, “crazy” towards myself for all the times I’ve walked in self-deception and dared to judge anyone else for stumbling when the Lord took away a crutch they leaned too heavily on.
This time is a gift for us as Christians, though it displays the results of a world under the curse of sin. When you wonder where your food, bottled water, (and toilet paper) will come from, you can remember that Jesus had said in Matthew 6:31-34,
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
I’m sure no one reading this needs to hear another person tell them to pray, read your Bible, or look for ways to help someone else practically or by calling them on the phone. But right now, though these times are unnerving and seem so surreal, all of God’s promises we have known so well, have the greatest opportunity to be seen and experienced. He LONGS for His own to trust Him as Provider, Keeper, Healer, Comforter, and the One Who is All-Sufficient for every need we face today.
Psalm 62…I assure you…if you believe the words that you read and embrace them as your own, you cannot HELP but be strengthened and encouraged! I would love to get a text or email hearing how the Lord encouraged YOU and deepened your faith as you sense His Presence and hand-holding through these trials. Crazy times are the best times to walk out what we believe to be true and discover the faithfulness of God will never let us down.