Writing has not come easily in the past months. My heart and mind have been a swirl of thought, emotion and seeking. Clarity of purpose has remained and for that I am thankful. Recent encouragement came in the form of an old story.
I just finished a book entitled “Gold Cord, The Story of A Fellowship”, by Amy Carmichael. I have been working my way through the book for more than a year, needing to digest the rich food for my soul. It tells of people that saw God’s children in great need in India, then swiftly answered the call to serve. What intrigues me most about their story is the method in which they move forward. Secure funding prior to travel? No. Develop mission/vision/values, design a framework to follow? No. Prepare a formal budget? No.
I am not suggesting in even the slightest manner that we should serve without accountability, or not be wise stewards of what is gifted to us. No. This is the second book that has spoken a strong message about responding to God’s call (OK, truly the third, with the first being our Holy Bible). The first, “Chasing Daylight” by Erwin Raphael McManus, challenged Christians to “just do SOMETHING”. In light of our tendency to plan, think, pray for a sign, wait, Erwin suggests that possibly we have already received the nudge to do something and God will bless that something when we respond in faith rather than waiting for a sign or some form of provision. And then the story of The Fellowship. Not far into the book I found this quote:
“But fears came up perpetually and danced before our eyes like wearisome, mischievous goblins; we found that we could only go on if we leaned all our weight on the promises. Yet there was always a sense, even then, that something good lay ahead and that we were being shaped for that good thing, though we did not know what it was. Their Redeemer would not waste the children.”
Funding came for the work that was done – after the work had been started. Their response had been to just do the right thing & trust. The Fellowship knew without a shadow of a doubt when God spoke to them. They doubted nothing once they determined it was of God. They just did something, allowing God to guide, steer and provide for them.
As the sadness of what they discover unfolds she says, “Far off, sorrowful things are perhaps endurable. It is always possible to disbelieve them.” That paragraph ends with, “But for some of us there is no merciful distance. We cannot sit blindfolded.” From here on I simply desire to walk alongside The Fellowship. I know the lack of merciful distance. I, too, in another land feel the pain and sorrow with eyes wide open.
Once we have seen, how dare we not respond? Exactly. Precisely. Yes! How dare we wait for that perfect timing? While we wait the suffering goes on, and this after we have seen.
The Fellowship did not parade sad, hungry faces in a plea for donation. No! They simply did the next right thing, and they prayed. What happened time after time is what gave me energy, what inspired me to continue to believe in the call to CLIMB for Haiti with all of my heart. Time after time when this group was IN THE MIDST of great need another soul from another place was moved to send support. Not while they were in the stages of planning, but even when the giving soul knew nothing of their specific need, God moved them to send finances. AND ANOTHER THING – most often it wasn’t just any kind or any amount of finances, but EXACTLY the amount needed.
And so I was left to ask myself, are we at CLIMB living in that deepest place of trust? Are we stopping at the end of the plank, afraid of the water? Or are we lifting one foot to take the step over unseen support, trusting fully that God will extend the plank far enough to support us? CLIMB for Haiti. Accolade for Saving Lives. 26 boys in 20 families, 7 staff and their extended families. School children that will find nourishment in peanut butter produced by our now working moms. Tous Ensemble,50 patients to treat each day, their staff of 9 and their families. Beyond the borders of God’s known work through these leaders we hear countless stories of lives that have unknowingly been touched and changed for the better, forever.
This life of service is a life full of rich rewards to spirit, soul and heart. It is an odd journey through trust, self-doubt, constant prayer, at times a fear unspeakable, yearning to be in a land far off while needing to be right where we are, and on and on the list goes. We must endure.
Ms. Carmichael assures us that even once we reach our goal we will not feel “valorous”. She says, “Again and again you will find that you have need to pray for the simple graces of good cheer, courage, patience, persistence, the will to ignore the clamors of the flesh, the will to refuse the softness that would sink to the easy”. Then, get this. Look what comes next! “God give us climbing souls. . .And to climb may be nothing more romantic than a steady trampling on the lust of comfort, a going on, when everything in us wants to stop. . . to a deeper service of abandon and obedience.” CLIMB. And keep climbing.
What, then, when the goal is achieved? For The Fellowship it became as we envision God’s work through CLIMB becoming. “The work in Dohnavur still continues, but now the Fellows members are all of Indian nationality”. Did you catch that? The work was begun with intent to be handed over to those trained and empowered to carry it on. In their own land.
Yes! Exactly! Precisely! Tis sweet solace to know that God is calling for generosity in some as he simultaneously calls for obedience in action from others. When we respond as called it must be like an orchestra to our heavenly Father, all playing our parts in tune.
Be inspired by some quotes from Amy Carmichael, visit Quotes by Amy Carmichael