I stare, think fragmented thoughts, and say to God, like Aaron Shust's song:
Give me words to speak. Don't let my spirit sleep. 'Cause I can't think of anything worth saying, but I know that I owe you my life.
I woke this morning to a phone call from Jenny. Because of some confusion with the ticketing for Katie & Christopher, they were likely to miss their flight. So we prayed. The next phone call a few minutes later confirmed that God did yet another thing which is like Him. The flight was delayed by nine minutes which allowed Jenny just enought time to get the ticketing resolved and make the flight!
While I was thanking God for how His timing is perfect, I received yet another call from Jenny. While taxiing for take-off, the airline discovered that Katie has sickle-cell, and that it is possible that she may require use of their on-board oxygen supply. So, the plane turned around and returned to the gate where Jenny and the kid's baggage was unloaded and they were asked to leave the plane because the flight did not have any additional oxygen available for Katie's potential need.
Per the airlines request they will now have to return to Kampala to visit an airline approved doctor, submit a request to accomodate Katie's potential need of oxygen support, and wait for the airline's approval of that request. This delays their travel by at least two days. It is a severe understatement to say that this is not the happy birthday that Jenny was hoping for. She has reached her breaking point.
It is so difficult for Jenny and I's human minds to understand why God allows for such disappointment to occur on the heals of what we believed was some form of a miracle in getting them on the flight in time. There is no questioning His sovereignty. There is no doubt that His plan can never be made "more" perfect. Yet, in our humanness, we still ask, with great heartache, "Why?"
It is not an answer we search for. What we desire is simply a calming reminder from God that He is still in control, and that in His perfect knowledge and grace has caused these things to occur as they have for His purpose. We feel like King David who, in the midst of overwhelming spiritual torment, said, "This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High."(Psalm 77:10) We remember that God is sovereign. We remember that He has heard our, and your, prayers. We remember that He is not only capable, but He is also faithful to finish the work which He began. We remember.
Still our spirits are heavy. This journey has cost us more, in every way, than we ever imagined it would. It has likely cost us more than we would ever have agreed to willingly. However, there is not one sleepless night, one penny, one prayer, one heartache, or any single cost that we would not give again. God has taken us farther than we ever wanted to go, but we would not ask for it to be any different.
The apostle Paul said,
But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings...but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. (Phil. 3:8-12)What we have experienced so far in this journey is merely the tip of the iceberg of God's total plan. It has been full of: heartache, joy, anger, peace, helplessness, victory, thankfulness, humility, exhaustion, and divine strength. We have experienced God in ways and depths that we never knew existed. We have seen the power of God displayed in His people, and over those who oppose Him. Daily we have known His timely, practical, and sufficient grace. We have seen unity in the family of God that is beyond anything that we have experienced.
We regret nothing.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged by Adolf Hitler for passionately following Christ, wrote:
Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light.' (The Cost of Discipleship, 45)
A delay of two or three days seems a small inconvenience, yet in this portion of the journey it has felt like more than we can bear. Yet we will press on mindful of God's supremacy, and calmed and strengthened by His words and Spirit:
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shalll utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
God's plan for us is no greater or less than the plan He has for each of His people. He requires no special ability, reputation, stature, personality, giftedness, likeability, or beauty. He seeks the willing heart that would say, 'Here am I! Send me.'(Isaiah 6:8) We never imagined what God would choose to do with us when we uttered those words. We are ordinary. Jenny's a stay-at-home mom and I'm just a carpenter. We have practically nothing to contribute to His purpose; only willing hearts.
Still we say, "Here are we, LORD! Send us."
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ~President Theodore Roosevelt