Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!
Monday, September 12, 2016
Rest, support, remember, and praise
Well, lots of things, not the least of which is the word American set before Christian. But those are lots of posts for lots of other days.
One of the problems that I see a lot is that when a Christian in America receives a clear, God-given call to serve the vulnerable (whether through ministry to those caught in sex trafficking, through orphan care, meeting the needs of the homeless, or any number of ways) but then faces hardship, that person is told by other Christians that he got the call wrong. Or maybe she's doing something wrong. Because, the speaker implies (or states), God wouldn't call you to a task so far out of your comfort zone, something for which you find yourself crying out to Him and others for help; He wouldn't give you a task that brings you chaos and tears.
To which I say, "Find me a hero of the Bible who didn't struggle in his calling."
A few months ago, I received two messages from two friends within a few days of each other. Each of these friends is on the front lines of ministry. Each of them heard the call, and followed it, and now finds herself and her family in chaos. And each of them said that she is afraid to share this with her friends because she knows what the response will be, "Well, maybe you shouldn't have brought so much on yourself," or "I tried to tell you this would be too much for you," or "That's what you get for thinking you can save the world."
To which I say, "Jesus started His ministry with these words, 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.'" (Luke 4: 18 - 19) He then spent the next 3 years modeling this for His disciples and for us and later urged us to 'God and do likewise.'"
Never, ever did He promise us that by saying yes to Him our lives would be easy. Instead, following Him means that our lives will be messed up. And it's good.
But it doesn't ever make it easy.
This morning I was reading the story of Moses and the battle with the Amalekites in Exodus 17. Joshua and his army were fighting the Amalekites as Moses had ordered. As long as Moses' held his hands up, the army was winning; if he lowered his arms, the Israelites lost ground.
I've always wondered how they figured out that this was the key to their success. Trial and error, maybe? A direct word from God?
I don't know. I also don't know if their revelation was met with comments from the peanut gallery, "Moses, that's stupid. What makes you think our success in battle is connected to you? Did God really tell you to do that? I told you before you even went into this battle that there was no way you should be doing this. It's just too much work."
What I do know is that he had two friends, Aaron and Hur, who presumably offered no argument, no admonition to give up the fight, no conversation about whether or not he was in God's will. Instead, they simply brought Moses a stone to rest upon. Their role at this point was not to question or discuss, but to find a way for Moses to rest. And they were faithful to that task. And when Moses' arms got tired, they held them up. Again, no misguided lecture about a God who wouldn't give Moses more than he could handle; they simply supported his arms. I like to think that they even shared a few good stories or jokes with Moses because we all know that laughter is God's gift to us in tough times.
And when it was all over, they wrote it down so they would never forget how God led them to victory through Joshua's obedience, Moses' faithfulness, and the life-giving rest and support from Aaron and Hur.
But they still weren't finished. Next came an altar, again to remember, but this time to remember that when the Lord goes before us, when we give rest and support to those who are obedient and faithful, that battle belongs to the Lord. Think of the many times after that, as they sat around the campfire, that someone would say, "Remember that time when..." and they could share a smile and a few laughs together, remembering the obedience to the call, the power of the Lord going ahead, the rest and support offered by the faithful friends, and the Lord's victory.
It takes a village. And everyone is called to join in the mission.