"As for me, my charter is Jesus Christ; the inviolable charter is His cross and His death and resurrection, and faith through Him." The early church father, Ignatius of Antioch, spoke these words during his life. And it seems I have forgotten this fact in the struggles of the last week or so. My call is given by Christ, and so the ability to do the job, and the authority to perform the job, is all on Him and the Father. Why am I letting those who would oppose, either consciously or unconsciously, the Father's design?
My wife had an experience during her women's retreat at Springhill in Evert, Michigan that was for me, of all people. She said that she was in the crowd of women (some 600 plus were there total for the retreat, a portion were there in the meeting) and the speaker, a Rose Anne Coleman, came up to her and started talking to her. My understanding is that God directed Rose Anne to speak with my wife. She said that she had a word for someone that my wife knew that was being deflected and opposed in the entry into ministry. My wife, stunned, told her about my struggles as of late.
She gave my wife a book for me, titled Green Leaf in Drought, by Isobel Kuhn who was a member of the China Inland Mission (now known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship, International). In the 1950's, with the spread of communism, a missionary family, Arthur and Wilma Mathews, would experienced the cold cruelty of the Red Government while learning God's grace and mercy. They would eventually make it out and the story is what the book is about. The premise on the back cover is; "Is it possible for a Christian to put forth green leaves when all they enjoy in this life is drying up around them?
Rose Anne said this book is what propelled her into ministry, at the age of 40? (Not sure of age) despite receiving the call in the tender age of 5. She wasn't even a christian then.
But the thing that has stuck with me the most since I started reading the thin book last night and has stuck with me since is the verse that the book's title and story is based. It has resounded in my heart and match the thirst of the fire in my bones.
"For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit." Jeremiah 17:8 NASB
The King James version, I believe, in the book has it as "his leaf shall be green and shall not be careful in the year of drought"
Should I be anxious about the financial situation that my family faces, or realize that we are blessed indeed to have a Father who would bless us abundantly even in the face of seemingly un-abundance? It is not the Church's place to tell me of the call, but rather to develop me under God's guidance in the calling. Am I wrong to seek that from the church as a primary importance in my life?
Doesn't the bible tell us that God is first Master of our hearts?
Could it be that, by focusing my eyes upon the Savior, that I gain all I would wish for my family? And that, in spite of rather than in response to, I should be happy to have the focus I do as the things of the world dry up around me?