“What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond
to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured
it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the
pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.”
Romans 3:27-28 (The Message)
I needed that reminder this morning. I was besieged by that most horrible
(dare I say evil) of thoughts: “you’re not doing enough”…. Not doing enough to combat human
trafficking. Not saving enough
lives. Not caring enough. Not. Not. Not… When these thoughts attack me, I have
two responses—either to go into manic warp-speed type activity, and end up
exhausted. Or feel that my feet
are in concrete, unable to move or make a decision. I’ve found that the only way to the center, and to Peace is
that simplest of cures: prayer and
reading the scriptures. So I
hauled myself out of bed, shook the concrete buckets off my feet, fixed a good
cup of coffee, allowed the cat to curl up in my lap and purr himself to sleep,
and opened the Bible to my reading for today. And there it was.
That reminder once again that, after all, it’s not about what I do. It’s God’s work after all—I simply need
to let God set the pace and fall into step.
Thinking about this passage led me to
thankfulness for the ways that I have seen God going before me—setting that
pace—in this last year—and paving the way into a future that I know will be
fruitful—even if I can’t clearly see how.
What is so amazing about 2 of the major events of the year is that they
completely came to me: I neither
initiated them, nor had any vision for them. They literally walked into my life in ways that only God
Event #1: Visa.
I was issued a 5-year residence permit by the Dutch immigration
department. Those of you who have
ever dealt with visas know how huge this is. I had been praying about my continuing future in Europe, in
part because of visa issues. And
then one day some Dutch friends came to dinner and let me know that they had
figured out how I could have a visa through a very reputable Christian
college. And it happened. I spent neither time nor money getting
the visa. It was a huge
confirmation that I was, indeed, to stay here. (A miracle, you might say?) And it opened doors to expanded ministry in The Netherlands
with students and professors….but that will be for another journal. I promise.
Housing. I had lived in a
lovely apartment here for 4 years and would have been happy continuing to
living there. The 2 bedrooms were
small, but the living room was spacious, and with blow-up beds there was always
room for however many guests might show up. I love having guests—and see it as a major part of my
ministry—people from all over the world coming to learn from the excellent
examples of anti-trafficking projects here. But in June the rent went up, and the landlord made it clear
that it would continue to increase each year. And so I started looking on the internet for alternative
housing. Finding nothing that
would work for me that was less expensive, I just said, “God, you’re going to
have to deal with this…I have neither the time nor energy to spend.”
Two months later, I received an e-mail from out
of the proverbial blue from friends in Singapore that I had not had contact
with in several years. They wanted
me to send them my phone number because their apartment just around the corner from mine was becoming vacant. I had been in their pent-house apartment once—about 8 years
ago. And so my response was
thus: “Thank you so much for
thinking about me with regard to your apartment. But there’s no way I can afford it.”
They insisted on calling me—and in the
conversation let me know that as they were praying about what to do with the
apartment, my name came to their minds
and they were compelled to offer it to me for whatever rent I could pay. Their only criteria was that the
apartment be used for God’s purposes. “There’s one caveat, though,” they
said. “It has a grand piano in
it.” At that point, I began to cry. Those of you who know me,
know that in times past, I’ve played the piano. I haven’t had one for years due to lack of space and
time. But I love playing. And in one moment, I knew that God had
gone before and met the quiet desire of my heart for more music in my life—and
more space for ministry.
Three days after moving in, I hosted 5 women from
Bulgaria who are working in anti-trafficking endeavors. They were all able to sleep in real
beds in the spacious guest-room.
That story, I’ll save for my next journal entry. I promise.
So today (and
hopefully tomorrow and the next day)…..
I’ll let God set the pace.
And whatever happens….that’s enough, huh?
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