South Africa II

“I am the Vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.” Jn 16

I cannot explain what has happened over the past week, but I know that all your prayers are being answered and God is truly being faithful to His servant. I don’t know how to express this, so I have put part of my journal entries here that begin to show to what extent I have been humbled on a battlefield with fear as my enemy and have seen our Victor triumph greatly in my life. I never expected that when I became a missionary I would feel hotter than ever before the purifying fire of God’s Spirit ridding me of the dross that has accumulated. But our Father is ever faithful to correct His children, to “purge” them with hyssop that they might be clean.

Aug 4 (Thurs):
“My eyes so oft wander from that Fount which is eternal. One moment I see that my home is in heaven, my Keeper the Creator of all, but the next fear takes it’s hold and grasps at my throat.”
“I say that the Lord is my Refuge, the Most High my dwelling place – and it is here alone where evil cannot befall, where my soul does lat its weary head. When I cry out, You will answer because You are near. You come from no far off place, but from that place that is my home. From within, from without. For I am in Your shadow, so You surround me. But You also penetrate me for my being is in Your shadow. Where can I flee from Your Spirit or go from Your Presence? There is nowhere for You are my God who has set me on high. But why then do now you feel such fear, my soul, why do you dread what may lie ahead? Place your love in Him! Know His name which has sealed you! Dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Fear not! For the God Almighty has sworn to protect, to guard, to raise you up.”

Aug 5 (Fri):
“O God, my God, I am in utter confusion, let not your light go out from around me. Leave me not a moment to the vices of my flesh. Spare me from worldly fears and fleshly anxieties. Remove from me all doubt and uncertainty. In your light let me see light, in Your hand let me feel comfort. I am but humble earth, unable to breathe lest you command it. And now I grasp for You. For Your assurance I beg, for Your presence I need. My only hope is in You, let me not continue in despair. Lead me to the Rock, which is truly You. My soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You. Let me not away from Your presence, from Your encompassing Hand. I have too much to bear, please, relieve my burden. You are my salvation in this my day of need. I have no other to turn to, but You alone O God.”

Aug 6 (Sat):
“I am begging for wisdom. I wake up in utter fear every morning – shaking even. All I want to do is go home. Father, please open doors or shut them, show me what to do. You are my only strength and I can’t do this. As David, I cry out for a God Who has forsaken me, Who has clouded the skies to where I no longer see the Son. From the depths I cry to You, O God, attend unto my prayer.”

Aug 7 (Sun):
[Before talking to my family]
“In the card my mom sent for when I miss her she wrote, ‘Stand firm. Trust in God. Excell, Fear Not, Hope Always, love the morning, remember our love.’ That goes through my mind so many times a day. And I actually feel like I have to watch the sunrise to obey her! But the dilemma is that the earlier I wake up the more time I have to think, panic, fear, etc…”
“’Turn us, O God of hosts, show us thy countenance and we shall be whole. For wherever man’s soul turns, except toward you, it is fixed to sorrows’ (St. Aug. confessions). God, my soul, no, my whole being cries out to You in anguish. Do not forsake me in my hour of need. Be with me now and comfort me for Your Name’s sake, do not let me fall. Raise me up to the light immortal, restore the joy that has fled and gone. Remove from me the sorrow that takes hold, and focus my eyes on my one and only good, which is You. Fill me with Your renewing Spirit and as a Father to His child, hold me close. I beg.”

Aug 7-8 (Sunday night – Mon morning)
[After talking with my parents and surrendering]
“My dad said I was just where God wanted me, and that included being tested, tried, and tempted, to be stripped of everything I hold as comfortable and dear – so that I might surrender to Him alone, in the simplicity of His beauty. He was right, and he truly was the mouthpiece of God to me today. I cried out to God, and he heard me, and set my foot upon the Rock that is Higher than I.”
“Surrender means something wholly new to me. I see that I am stripped now of all the clothing I usually wear. Church, family, friends, home, everything. But that’s not surrender. Surrender is being stripped of me. My pretensions, knowledge, security, strength, happiness. Once those things are gone then God is Your only security, friend, strength, and joy. But often His silence teaches your cries to become increasingly stronger, that when He answers He may be fearlessly heard.”
“I am challenged to get back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel like David before the battlefield alone, no men to help, just me and them. At that point knowing the “doctrine” of justification isn’t going to help anything. Fr. Brian emailed and said, ‘you can never allow yourself to believe in justification by faith, you believe in Christ alone.’ What this is causing me to do is be purged. Who am I? I must get back to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, and I will be purified. But birth is always messy and painful, and that is where I am now. But “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.””
“’A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world’ (Jn 16:21). My new passion is that new child, and though I know not what to do with it or how to use it, and I still feel the pangs of sanctifying childbirth – I look forward to the new life that is painfully bursting through the hardened soil of my heart. I find hope and peace in the Gardener and Keeper of my faith. He will grow what He wills to grow in me and out of me, and here I rest.

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