ALABASTER JARS

Life in Abundance


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The Call and The Cookie

by Fylvia Fowler Kline

Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1, The Message.

When our family received a call to go to Nepal as missionaries, I said no. It was the worst possible time–My career that was perched for great possibilities would die; my son’s intensive piano lessons that were preparing him for a future in composition would be jeopardized; my daughter’s academic goals would be crushed; and my husband’s break from the for-profit business sector would make him less marketable when we returned. It simply did not make sense. But God knew better. His persistence grew stronger with my every objection. The signs I got would have put Gideon, Moses and Joseph to shame; yet I refused.

Then, one Sabbath, away from home, Roy and I opened the Yellow Pages to find a church to attend. There were many; so, we randomly picked one and began our drive. Less than three minutes on the road, I spotted a church and suggested we attend that one instead of the one we had picked. Roy refused (his Germanic genes do not allow changes in plans). Five minutes later, I saw another; Roy refused. Another ten minutes went by and there was another church; Roy refused. We were now late for the service.

By the time we got to the church, the sermon had begun. And I was furious with Roy. Just as we sat down, the minister said, “Faith is about setting out on a journey without all the answers to your questions.” Roy nudged me. My response was silence, but I could not help scribbling the quote in my Bible.

The trip back to the hotel was long and silent. I took a nap that afternoon to blot out the irony of attending that particular church and hearing that particular message. I woke up late, hungry and miserable. We ordered Chinese takeout and ate in silence. The meal ended and I broke open my fortune cookie. It said: “You will go to a strange and far away land.”

In that moment I imagined God smile and say, “Checkmate.” After six years of our mission service, life was just as I had predicted—my career took a dive. My son’s music career never happened. My daughter didn’t end up in an Ivy League school. My husband did not find a job comparable to his strengths and experience. Yet we gained more than we lost. Our journey of faith that began with a fortune cookie took us into an experience of complete trust in God. We survived political strife, physical hardships, poor health, emotional trials and dangerous conditions. Every day was an adrenaline rush of miracles, a continual supply of blessings.

When I was able to give up my vision for myself and obey God’s call instead, God’s plans became my plans, His desires my desires. And in Him, I found abundant joy even in the worst of times.

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Turning Fear Into Faith

by Teri Dorrell (excerpt reposted from here)

Proverbs 3:5–6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Another one is Psalm 118:8: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

Trust is a daily part of our lives. We trust that our alarm clocks will go off. We trust that we will have a hot shower each morning. We trust that our chairs will hold us when we sit down. We trust that the gallon of milk will be good. We trust that the bank will keep our money. There are so many things we don’t even think about that we put our trust in daily. None of those things love us or even care about us, but we trust them.

How much greater is our Heavenly Father who loves us, and gave His life for us, and promises to take care of all our needs. I don’t know how many nights or perhaps months that I let my fear of something being under my bed control me. Even though we can all laugh at that now, it was real to me as a little girl. I can still remember the night I decided I had had enough. I was just going to force myself to trust in the Lord and slowly walk to my bed, get in, turn off the light, and just go to bed. I was going to have more faith than fear. I would like to tell you all the fears just instantly went away, but they did not. It took many nights of faith before I could just go to bed.

I wouldn’t be honest if I said, “I no longer have any fears.” They often sneak in, and the Lord patiently reminds me that He loves me and will take care of the fears if I will simply obey Him and have more faith than fear. I don’t know what fears you may be dealing with, but remember He is faithful and true, and what He has promised that will He do.