Consider the Lilies..: September 2013   

Sep 1, 2013

A man of faith..

It's been forever since I've blogged.  Things have been so busy that I haven't had a minute to sit down and blog anything.

I was going to blog about the next thing on my list, I think it was supposed to be what do I like most about my church?  But something came to me while I was sitting on my front porch so I'm going to blog about that instead. 
I'm not going to say that there is a lesson, or that I am trying to make a point.   I just want to write about it, and since it's my blog I'll do just that. 

Three years ago presbyters came to our church and spoke over several people, my husband was one of them. He had been saved for only a few months and at the time we weren't really sure what presbyters even were.   There were three of them; Tom Lane from Gateway church, Wayne Drain from Fellowship of Christians, and Clark Whitten from Grace Church. 
Tom Lane got up and explained what presbyters do and then said that they would chose people from the congregation and speak to them as God prompted them. 

Clark Whitten asked my husband to stand and told him "you are a man of faith. Be obedient, follow where I lead you, declare your faith, and I will put men in your path who will follow you. I will shower you with blessing. Financial blessing, green pastures, cup running over. You are a man of faith. Declare it and I'm going to give you everything."
Ok seriously, who would not give their right arm for a prophecy like that??

Well naturally we thought we knew exactly what that meant, we had visions of him leading Bible studies and men's groups. Because my husband works overseas we were sure it meant that he would go to the nations and spread the word of God, make disciples, bring jesus to people who didn't know Him. 
We also assume that this would happen right away so we waited, and waited, and waited.  Weeks had passed by with no sign of men falling in behind him.  He worked all over Angola, Luanda, and several other countries in Africa for a year but didn't make a single disciple. The financial blessing that was promised had not arrived, in fact he was laid off without warning and we spent several months without a paycheck. 

Then he got a really great job offer in Texas and we thought okay this is God sending him to Texas where he will minister to men, he will lead them to Jesus, he will live out the prophecy that was given to him.   The presbyters came back and this time Tom Lane singled him out and told him the same thing that Clark did the year before. 

He worked in Texas for a year and then, again, quite suddenly he was laid off.  We went four months without income.  
We were confused.  What was happening was definitely not fufilling the words spoken over him. He was doing everything he thought he should be doing and still, nothing. 

And then three job opportunities sprang up at once.  Australia, Canada, and Libya. So we prayed, we asked God to open the door to the right location and close the doors to the others. The door to Canada closed right away, and then Libya so that meant Australia. I was glad about that, let's be honest Libya is not somewhere I wanted him to be.  
We thought it was a done deal, he was all set to go to Australia but just before he was ready to leave Libya opened up again. Two days later the door to Australia closed. I was not happy.  On the third day several job offers came to us, one after the other fell through almost  immediately. Pretty soon Libya was his only option. So he took the job. 

The pay was great. Better than he had ever had in his 13 year career in the oilfield. He wasn't worried at all. He had been to Libya before in the Marines. 
To be honest, he has never been afraid to go anywhere. 
I was afraid, but I supported him.   People thought I was crazy, several told me that it was my job as his wife to talk him out of it. But I couldn't do it. I would rather him happy doing a dangerous job that he loved rather than a safe one he detested. 

Besides, he simply had NO fear about it. None. Before he got on the plane I asked him if he was worried at all. He said no, of course so I asked him why. 
He said that God had made him a promise and that he had faith in that promise. 
So my husband got on the plane with his Bible in his backpack and headed to a Muslim country. 

If you ask him how he feels about working in Libya he will tell you that he has never felt more welcome, more appreciated, or happier anywhere else that he has ever worked. 

They have asked him if he is a Christian and he has said yes, they leave the discussion there and go on with their work. 
When he comes home everyone asks him about working in Libya, and the inevitable question always comes up; "Aren't you afraid to spend so much time in a Muslim country?"
He always says no and they always ask why. And he always says "God made me a promise, and I have faith in that."  He doesn't say it with any big bravado, he just says it. 

I stand back and watch their faces when he says this. They look at him for a minute, sort of surprised. And then they say things like "that's amazing" or "I wish I had faith like that" or "Clay, you inspire me".
He just shrugs. He doesn't say things like "I am just doing God's work" or "I'm doing it for the glory of God" or anything like that (something I like to call a humble brag).  He just shrugs.  Sometimes his humility catches people off gaurd. Even me. It's so natural to him. It's one of this things I love about him. 

Then I realized something, from the moment the first word from the presbyters was spoken over him I had an idea of what it would look like. He would go to the nations and proclaim the word of God, he would convert others to Christianity, his faith would simply blow them away. 
I was wrong. Yes he does go to the nations but it's the people here at home who he is proclaiming his faith to.  Its the people here in our church who are blown away by his faith. Without even realizing it, he is doing exactly what God put him on his path to do. 
So where are these men he is supposed to be leading? Well...

A month ago two teenage boys moved into our home, one is in desperate need of a father figure who loves him and believes in him. The other is more in need of a mother, but they both need the influence of a strong man in their lives. 
Now they have that. 

I suppose if there is a lesson here it is simply that even though we think we know God's plan, it turns out that we never completely do. We may even think that our plans are just as good but they aren't. They never are. 

My husband goes to work in Libya but the real testimony of faith is given to those here at home.   The men he is leading are not Muslims but two teenage boys living in Omaha Nebraska. 

I don't know if he will work in Libya forever, I don't know if he will always have a position but I do know that whatever happens next will happen for reason.  Because God has a plan. And it's a good one.

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