Sunday, January 26, 1 a.m. Chiang Mai, Thailand
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” –Psalm 37:7a
“He will bring for your righteousness as the light and your judgement as the noonday.” –Psalm 37:6
Today is our fourth day in Thailand. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed already. The Lord has been doing amazing things as He works through our team in the different places we go.
Our team has formed such an amazing bond from our first travel day. We came together as strangers really. A few people knew a few others, but largely we went out without knowing much about what we were doing or who we were going with beyond the basics like names, pet peeves, and what River Valley campus we attend. And yet, we are such a cohesive unit! We joke and laugh together like we are family (and in God’s Kingdom, we are!), encourage and challenge one another no matter what our age (we range from 20s to 50s and up!, and our heart beats as one for Jesus and the people of Thailand we came to serve. It’s been a beautiful thing to observe.
Just yesterday, we served at a ministry in Chiang Mai, Thailand getting to paint, play, minister, and just BE with the kids and staff there. It was such a blessing to see how God put each of us on our team with such care, and everyone had a role that was truly assigned by the Lord. We all served from our hearts and jumped right in wherever we could or saw need regardless of if we were comfortable or not. God enabled our unique gifts to shine forth and blessed the kids (who in turn blessed us!), the Hope House staff, and our team. And our host missionaries and their team noticed the difference, saying how well today went and how we just flowed and worked together in such unity though we are all so unique. It was beautiful!
And as we were on our way back from dinner at our host missionaries’ house, we were roaring with laughter on the trip back to our hotel in the 16-passenger van we’ve come to know and love, I thought to myself, “I love my team.” It’s literally been like this from day one when we arrived at the MSP airport at 4 a.m. God has truly answered our prayers for unity by His Spirit.
So in all this talk about unity, where do the Scriptures above from Psalm 37 above fit in? Well, the Lord woke me early this morning (not every time we wake up randomly in the middle of the night is just happenstance…listen for Him!), and the first thing I heard in my heart was that first verse from Psalm 37:7a: “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” I went into the bathroom and turned on the light so as not to disturb my sweet roomie, and pondered what that meant. The Lord brought verse 6 to me next along with an impression to write. After I asked the Lord quietly if it was Him, He confirmed it with that ever gentle, sweet “yes” that comes from His Spirit. So I write in obedience and faith that He will speak through this to you and me.
As I reflect on the day’s events, I am amazed at how not only our hearts, gifts, and personalities fit together but our stories as well. We are about as different from one another as we can be. There are teachers and students and business men, a hairstylist, pastors, those with technology backgrounds, and of course this California girl in the midst of Minnesotans! 😉 We have different stories of the road we’ve travelled with Jesus and the joys and the challenges we’ve faced, as we’re in the throes of transition, discerning our next steps, learning how to be faithful where we’re at, and even recovering from tragic loss of those we love. Yet, God has brought us into SUCH amazing unity and caused our stories to intersect in such a way that a Master Weaver could only do by the power of the Holy Spirit. And what’s true for so many of us is that we are in different processes of waiting on God and discerning what He has for our lives.
It’s been incredible to watch Him work through His specific arrangement of our team. For each of us, we didn’t know what to expect. We just heard God say “Thailand” in different ways, for some a voice or distinct series of impressions, for others a simple desire to try it out and get out of our comfort zone, for others still a passion to serve overseas. Regardless of the way we were led by God to go on this specific River Valley Global Project, we each said “yes,” and God is using our simple obedience to Him to glorify Himself and demonstrate His great love for the people of Thailand and all nations.
We are constantly being reminded that we are His and all we must do is wait on Him, listen to His voice, and obey Him in each step no matter if it’s big or small or where we are geographically. He will do GREAT things as we obey. It’s not about our agenda, our talents, or even the compassion we hold in our hearts for the people. It’s all about God and what He’s doing.
As such, we don’t need to strive. We just need to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” So waiting isn’t a passive act; it’s about saying, “Lord, I am available to You.” and waiting for Him to define further how He wants us to go beyond what He’s already revealed in Scripture. And as we walk in His plans and His way, humbly accepting His yoke and His timing, especially when it makes NO sense to us, He makes beautiful things happen that give Him glory, draw people to Himself, and bring us deep joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances. It’s His work. All we must do is be still and let Him be God. Although that’s such a challenge for us…at least it’s a challenge for me! I always want to help out and try of make sense of my circumstances and draw conclusions of what it means or what to do next. But we have to let all of that go and just look to Jesus and simply follow Him. He will do the rest. After all, “how can a man understand his way when the Lord directs his steps?” (Proverbs 16:9; Jeremiah 10:23)
What a blessing this insight is for me! As I’m in the process of discerning what God has for me on the road ahead and making sense of this particular leg of the journey since 2012, I see He is just saying, “Be.” It has given me such peace to hear Him tell me let go of even trying to make sense of everything and just let the story He’s writing unfold, being sensitive to Him and following His lead. I’m not on my own to figure it out bases on finding most of the edges pieces of the puzzle or guess at the phrase because a few letters are now up on the board. I only need “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” He will do the rest in His perfect way and perfect timing. He’s not one minute too late, even though at times it may seem like, “God, where were You?!” when we consider our circumstances and the hopes, expectations, relationships, or opportunities that have died. But let me tell you…
God is NOT through yet!
Hold on. Keep waiting. He will make it clear when it’s time to move. Don’t let the enemy rob you of the life and deep transformation God wants to bring in the midst of your circumstances (John 10:7-10; 1 Peter 4:12-19; James 1:2-18)! Get excited when you see more of His movement because the fruition of what you’ve been waiting on Him for IS coming! Get excited when you haven’t a CLUE of what He is doing and you don’t even feel He’s hearing your prayers or doubt He is real. We know from His Word in which he could never lie: He is at work in you and for you, and it WILL come into fruition (Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 55:8-11; Philippians 2:12-13)! He is the God Who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19); He is the One who rescues, delivers, and provides. He SEES you and hasn’t forgotten (Genesis 21:15-21; Isaiah 46:8-13; Galatians 6:9-10). Hold on to Him and watch Him work wonders you could never dream or plan into being (I Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 3:20).
He is faithful, so trust Him and let go of your striving. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” He will come through!