“Nothing is a sacrifice when you’re in love.” –Heidi Baker
Today, as I laid myself before God, preparing to board a plane to the United States – He moved my heart once again. I’m not exactly sure what this message might mean for me today, but I feel led to declare it. I pray that you would read it with an open heart and mind.
I am a planner. Generally when I get up in the morning, I have my day already planned out in my head. My expectations are in place for each event on the schedule, and I have mentally prepared myself for each challenge that I can anticipate. I don’t naturally enjoy surprises, especially the kinds that require more energy than I was planning on spending on a certain situation. This is who I am naturally, in my humanity and personality.
However, God has been working on me. He has been working on me a lot.
I was listening to a clip from a sermon this morning by Heidi Baker, and she was telling the story of a day that went all wrong. Her husband was sick – had literally lost his mind due to cerebral malaria. That day they were going to do outreach in a remote village and their boat sank, leaving them stranded. In the process her husband had dropped their camera and his glasses into the ocean. The villagers did not understand the difficulty of that situation, and simply surrounded them with joy and invited Heidi to preach.
So what did Heidi do? She preached.
After what I’m sure was a late night, Heidi went to bed and was awakened at four in the morning to the sound of the entire village surrounding her hut, singing praises to God. Before the rooster had even crowed, the village was filled with such joy that they began to worship God in the middle of the night.
So what did Heidi do? She worshipped.
I’m trying to imagine what I would have done in that situation. Although I have not been in a circumstance that extreme, having been a missionary, there have been moments where I’ve been tempted to squelch Holy Spirit joy because my boundaries had been breached and stomped on. I needed rest; I needed alone time; I needed space; I needed a BLESSED MOMENT to get myself together. In times like this, the humanity in me rises in frustration and it’s hard to find joy when I feel so depleted in other areas.
Heidi said, “How we respond in the storm MATTERS, because there are people watching us to see how we will respond.”
What does it look like to be filled with Holy Spirit, in every moment of every day? The longer I follow Jesus, the more I realize that it means being open to interruptions, surprises, and being willing to immediately respond to the nudging of His voice at all times. That kind of throws my little planner personality out the window. Why? Because we can’t anticipate the ways that God will move each day. We can’t know that at exactly 4:30pm we will sit next to a Muslim on an airplane who needs to hear about Jesus (and that has happened to me). We can’t know when the lady with the twisted ankle will come across our path and we need to pray over her for healing (happened to my friend yesterday).
We don’t have before us God’s calendar of Divine appointments, but we do have access to His presence, and the call to live constantly in that presence means that we must stay constantly connected. Why? Because God using me to be a blessing to someone else is just as much of a blessing to me as it is to that person. I have never walked away from a Divine appointment frustrated; rather, I have walked away thanking God that He allowed me to be a part of it.
As much as I would like to stick my headphones in all day today, stare out the window, and enter my imaginary world where everything is perfect and beautiful, I can’t deny that I am still present in a world that is not perfect and beautiful. There are people surrounding me TODAY that are broken and in need of a Savior. There are people surrounding me TODAY that are hurting others because they have not yet experienced God’s healing in their own lives. And I am sure that there are people that God can influence through me TODAY if I am willing and available to Him.
Only God can look into a crowd of people and see and love each person profoundly. That is His heart, and I want it.
My time is not my own. My life is not my own. Everything I have is surrendered to Christ; that has already been decided. So how will I live that out?
Although in my humanity I might be drained of my energy today, I am reminded of David Livingstone’s famous quote: “If a commission by an earthy king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” If my energy and love is truly flowing from God and not from myself, then it is flowing from an endless resource. I am praying that in whatever inconvenience that I experience today, I might see it through the eyes of Christ and not my own.
What do you do when your boat sinks? You keep on preaching. Why? Because there are people who need to hear about Jesus. What do you do when a village surrounds your hut at 4:00 in the morning? You worship. Why? Because God is doing something AMAZING and we can’t afford to miss it…because we are so madly and crazily in love with Him that our heart can have no other response.
Lord, may You give me eyes to see what You are doing in every situation and to unhesitatingly jump into Your flow. Would You continue to break down my humanity until all that I am is surrendered to Your will and heart? Lord, make my heart bigger, so that I might have the capacity to see the world around me through Your eyes and love each person that I see today as extravagantly as You love them. Help me to respond to each situation today in a way that truly honors You and draws others close to You. You are my JOY. Lord, I am excited to experience all the surprises and amazing stories of redemption that You will bring across my path today. Would my heart be in the right place to be used by You as You see fit today? I trust You. I love You. Totally. Absolutely. Here’s my life. Let’s go!