We are still waiting for an invitation to work in China. It has been more
than nine months since I first contacted a missions agency about going to China.
That is a long time to wait.
I like to think that I’m more patient than most people, but then I remember
how I was recently impatient at the grocery checkout when the lady ahead of me
wrote a check. Doesn’t she know that a debit card is much faster? Checks are
old-fashioned. Why does she have to carefully update the check register *before*
handing the payment over to the attendant? Arggh — I’m in a hurry. Then I feel
the rebuke of the Holy Spirit — OK Lord, sorry, I realize You are in control of
my day. I can be patient.
But Lord I *have* been patient about joining this mission. See, I have waited
a long time. So I wonder why, Lord, do You keep me in suspense? What advantage
could there be in delaying notice? No — I should not second-guess You, the
Sovereign One. Besides, You have shown me time and time again that You are Good,
that You are in control. Would You just let me drift into a fruitless and
unrealistic pursuit of becoming a missionary? No You wouldn’t. Even if You won’t
let us go to China, I’m sure this process will produce some kind of fruit. You
have never let me wander far; somehow You always bring fruit out of my
disappointments. So, I will trust in You. ‘I do not know what tomorrow brings,
but I do know Who brings tomorrow.’
I’m also encouraged that the Bible commends waiting. Is 40:31 promises
renewal of strength when we wait on the Lord. Frank Minrith points out that the
same Hebrew words in this verse have been used to describe a changing of
clothes. I like this concept: ‘renewal’ likened to ‘changing clothes’. Because I
can see that my former work-clothes have been stripped off and He has replaced
them with a new uniform. At first I didn’t want to give up my old work-clothes,
they gave me identity and significance and they were familiar. So it took months
before I felt comfortable in my new uniform, freed of worldly job pressures. I
am glad for the wait, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the time to change clothes!
Another area that has been improved through waiting is my prayer-life. If
there is anything that will compel me to pray, it is “NOT HAVING”. I want an
invitation to China, but I do NOT HAVE an invitation; so I pray and pray! (Needs
will always drive me to my knees. Yes, I’m selfish; I hate that I am that way.)
Anyway, if one thing comes of this wait, I hope it is endurance in prayer.
What about the time Susan needed? In fact, it was little more than a week ago
that she received what she considers a clear call to follow the Lord to China.
Wow. If it were my responsibility to compel her, it would take at least
seventeen years. Even though Susan was going to support my desire, it was well
worth the wait for the Lord to have her heart in this mission!
The Lord’s timing here seems perfect because soon after Susan ‘got the call’
the Mission Board called Susan to confirm her desire and commitment to go and
serve. It seemed that the appointment would hinge on Susan’s response. Oh, I’m
so thankful for the ordering of events. And I’m thankful that her own decision
and willingness were given equal weight with mine. This was the best way, and
well worth the wait.
Finally, looking beyond Susan and myself, I see that our parents, siblings,
and extended family all need the extra time to ‘process’ the changes ahead.
Reflecting on all this it becomes even more clear to me that the God who made
us, knows that we need to wait. And He waits with me. I can’t understand it, but
I’ve had a peace over these last few days.
I can be patient. I know who brings tomorrow.