Haiti – Endurance Required…

I have a couple of confessions that I need to make:

Confession # 1 – I don’t like my job…at all.  It is so difficult in every single way

Confession #2 – I want(ed) to quit…really badly

Confession # 3 – I sent out 2 resumes last week in search of another job

Ok, now that confession time is over, let me explain.  You see, I have always had jobs that I really liked or ones that I was good at.  If I ever had a job that was really hard and did not come natural to me, I’d just quit.  Well, first I would complain for a while, put the company down, and then I’d quit.  But, I just can’t do that anymore.  The Lord is not allowing me.

God is doing something in my heart and I can’t really say that it is fun…because it isn’t.  Its hard, but it is so necessary and I’m thankful for it.  This job that I have at  www.linknotincluded.com (I can’t believe you clicked:)  is really really hard.  It pushes all of my buttons in the worst way.  From day 1, I have been uncomfortable and have wanted to bail out so many times, just like I would do in the good ol’ days.  But this time, the Lord is saying NO.  No, not with an audible voice kind of thing, but a big NO nonetheless.  And I cannot deny what He is saying to me.

For the past 3 months, I have been doing my own personal study on the Book of Hebrews.  A theme that God has shown me all throughout that book is perseverance.  it’s all about persevering through the difficult trials and holding on to the hope that we now have in Christ.  It’s about acting in faith and trusting in the good promises of God even though we cannot see them now.  it’s about pressing on and holding onto our confidence until the end.  And so, as I have been reading Hebrews and growing in a great understanding of what the book is about, now God is calling me to act upon what I have just read.

So, one day last week, in the thick of me hating my job and wanting to drive away for lunch and never return, I open my bible during my lunch break and turn to…where else…the book of Hebrews.  I was studying chapter 13, but a verse from chapter 12 was staring out at me like it was in giant Lite Brite print in which my eyes could not avoid.  And the verse read, “Endure hardship as discipline, God is treating you as sons.”  Oh man, I did NOT want to see that verse on that day.  I mean, c’mon, I was about to make my getaway, I was about to take my extended lunch break right?  But no, God had to make that verse jump out at me where I could not deny it.  But you know what?  Being the selfish and stubborn person that I am, I tried to deny it.  And I continued to plan my getaway.  Next step…tell my wife that I am quitting and getting another job, but assure her that I will not quit until I land another job first  (I’m stubborn, not crazy…she’d have my head if I quit without having another job lined up).  So, I told my wife in as best of a sad, wounded puppy dog, woe is me, kind of a way what my decision was.  And, she did not freak out.  I can’t say she was happy go lucky about it, but she didn’t freak.  And so my plan was beginning to take effect…so I thought.

That night, I was on-line for hours searching for jobs, filling out applications, faxing resumes…and I was singing merrily in my heart as I thought about having hopefully just a few more days in my current place of misery.

Next morning, my wife wakes me up and does the whole  “Hey honey, I have been praying about this whole situation and I just want to challenge you in something” type thing.  So, of course, the challenge was…well, I’m sure you know what the challenge was.  C’mon, I knew what the challenge was as soon as she said “Hey honey.”  So, being Mr. spiritual that I am, I proceeded to get defensive, irritable, and upset, and told her that I didn’t have time to talk and went to take a shower.  And as I’m in the shower, the Spirit of God is pressing heavy upon me because I know that the Lord is telling me that she is right.  I knew what God wanted me to do long before I even spoke to my wife about the whole situation.  I was kicking at the goads.  God was speaking, using a megaphone, and I just didn’t want to listen.  But, right there in the shower, I said, “God, you got me.  I’m yours.  I will obey you and stay at this job because I know for certain that that is what you are calling me to do.  I know that you want to build character in me, that you want to build perseverance in me so that I may reflect Christ to those around me wherever I am, including Haiti.”  And so, I surrendered…then I went and apologized to my wife and told her what God had been showing me all along.  She was happy

And so I remain at this job.  And it has not gotten any easier…as a matter of fact, it is getting more difficult.  But I have been clinging to God every single day and crying out to Him to give me the perseverance that I need to bring Him glory.  And I know that I am pleasing Him by remaining where He has placed me for His great purposes.  And I know that He is working in my heart something that is needed for a lifetime of service and sacrifice in the kingdom of God.

Haiti will not be easy.  It will be hard at times…probably more difficult than anything I have ever experienced.  And so, this is the time in which God has chosen to work in my heart the things that I will need to glorify Him as an effective missionary.  I cannot have the “This is hard, boring, not fun, out of my comfort zone, so I quit” mentality.  No, I must have the “Lord, you have called me to this place and I will stay no matter how difficult it may get until You tell me otherwise” attitude.  With that, The Lord will be pleased.

I will close with this.  I was meditating on Hebrews 12 a few days ago where it says, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  It was all for the joy that was set before Jesus that enabled Him to endure the cross.   The cross wasn’t easy for Him, and it certainly wasn’t fun.  Hours before the cross, we see Jesus, The Lord of heaven and earth, stating that his soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.  We see the God of this universe sweating drops of blood.  We see the King of all kings asking God the Father if there was a way in which He would not have to go through with this.  But, we also see the lover of our souls surrender His will to the Father for the joy set before Him…the joy of seeing people reconciled to God.

A few days after my whole surrender thing, I got  calls from both places that I had submitted my resume stating that there were jobs available and that they wanted to interview me.  But I turned them down knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and for that I have joy in my heart in the midst of some difficult trials.  I could have called those places and gotten another job immediately, a job that would be fun where I could feel like I was really making a difference in kid’s lives, a job that wouldn’t put me working almost 50 hours a week which is what I’m doing now.  But, my heart is surrendered.  I know God is working something great in my heart and I will yield myself to Him for His glory.  Jesus modeled to me what endurance is all about.  He could have bailed out from the cross, but He didn’t because the joy that was set before Him was greater than the pain and suffering that He would go through.  And  I am amazed to think that I was included in that joy .

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