Friday, July 15, 2011

Faithful Friday - "God's Plan"

If there's one thing I know, it's that I desire to be in the center of God's will.  I want His plan for my life. 

Lately, I haven't been able to get enough of missionary books and stories.  This has been part of our homeschooling day.  Jason and Colt are at work, and Luke is always nearby, listening much more than we probably realize, but it's mostly Joy and me.

Reading the journey - the call, the scarifices and the rewards - of these missionaries, I am amazed, humbled, and inspired.

There's quite a few that we've enjoyed this past year (some were read alouds and some independent reading), and I highly recommend them all:  Mary Slessor, David Livingstone, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Lottie Moon, William Carey, George Muller, Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward, Hudson Taylor, Through Gates of Splendor, and End of the Spear. (There are also movies for some of really must see End of the Spear AFTER you read the book). 

Most of the titles above came from this series.  Great books!

Written by Jim Elliot's wife..... tells the story leading up to the events of the 5 men being speared by the Waodani.
Written by son of Nate Saint, Steve Saint, this one tells the rest of the story...God's plan for bringing the Gospel to the Waodani.

This leads me to the point of today's post.  There's one thing every one of these missionaries had in common.  Although each one felt God's call to the mission field, God's plan almost always differed from their plan.  When they waited upon the Lord and trusted Him, he not only opened doors of opportunity (or closed doors sometimes), but they found His way was better anyway.

I want to share a prime example of what I'm talking about that comes from a combination of two books - Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot and End of the Spear by Steve Saint.  If you're not familiar with these books, the first one, Through Gates of Splendor, is written by the wife of Jim Elliot.  It tells the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian, the five men (missionaries) who ultimately gave their lives bringing the Gospel to the Waodani (or Auca Indians as they were called) in the jungle of Ecuador.

But....that wasn't the end of the story.  God had a plan.  It was a good plan.  A plan that man never would have devised.  I'm sure those men had no idea that they would give their lives (at least so soon) for the sake of reaching this tribe, although they were all willing to give their lives if necessary.  They hoped to make friendly contact.  But only God could orchestrate such a plan for the Waodani.  Two years after the death of those five men, Elisabeth Elliot (wife of Jim Elliot) and Rachel Saint (sister of Nate Saint) went and lived among the Waodani bringing God's Word to the Waodani, so they could follow His Trail (as they Waodani called it). 

Rachel Saint (Steve's Aunt & Nate's Sister) living among the Waodani.
Elisabeth Elliot and her daugher (age 3 at the time I think) went to live among the Waodani....the very men that speared her husband and Valerie's daddy.

The second book, End of the Spear, written by Nate Saint's son, Steve Saint, tells the rest of God's plan - the rest of the story - years later - a little more than 30 years later.  Nate's son, Steve, spent alot of time as he was growing up with his Aunt Rachel among these people.  They loved him and he loved them back.  Then later, Steve and his family were invited by the very people that speared his father (and the other four missionaries) to come live among them and help them learn how to survive in the outside world.

In fact, one of the very men (Mincaye) that speared his dad became the adopted grandfather of Steve's children. 

Mincaye became like a dad to Steve and adopted grandfather to his children. 

That is a plan that only God could orchestrate.  Most would expect Steve to hate the Waodani for taking his father away when he was only five, but not only did he NOT want that, but he loved them. 

I'm sure that although those men (and their wives) desired to be used by God, they had no idea how it would all play out.  They didn't know that by giving their lives, it would open the door for the Gospel to be brought to them.  God knows best.  His plan is best.  He knows the beginning, the end, and everything in between.

In my own life, there have been many instances where I had it all figured out, only to find out I really didn't.  Had things gone the way I wanted, I would have missed out on the blessing of knowing God's plan for my life and seeing it all come together.  Just one example of this in my personal life was that of my children.  If things had gone according to my plan, I know I would have missed out on God's plan for blessing me with the three children I have.  Three children that came to me in three very different and special ways.  But before the blessing, came alot of "stuff", stuff I would just have soon by-passed.  It was a journey in which I did trust God, but I did also question why it wasn't what or when I desired.  His timing wasn't always my timing.  As a matter of fact, most of the time it wasn't.  His answers weren't always what I had in mind either - but I could see after the fact, that it was best.  And so it has been many times in my life - with the big things and the small things.  Sometimes we can think we have it all figured out and we know best and we like to help God along a little bit too. 

But would I want it any other way but God's plan?  No way.  One thing I'm certain of is I wouldn't want to live a day without the Lord and I want His plan for my life.  I know He loves me; He knows me; He knows what's best and I want to trust him with His plan for my life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 


I am participating in Joy's Faithful Fridays.  Click on over to Joy's blog, Doodlebug, for her Faithful Friday post.  If you'd like to participate, feel free to grab her button above and let her know in a comment that you participated!  We'd love to stop by and read about your Faithful Friday too!



The Farmers Oldest Daughter said...

Elizabeth Eliot spoke at our church several years ago and it was so inspirational. A great testimony.

Love your post.


renee said...

Very interesting! I think I have heard about this, what a testimony, that is TRUE AGAPE! Love reading your posts! You have done an amazing job with your family Tammy!
God bless!

Sharon said...

What a wonderful post of faith to read.A beautifully written testimony.
Have a great weekend.

Sew Many Raggedies said...


blessedmom's simple home said...

I love this story! I think you have a typo in the first paragraph about when Elizabeth and Rachel went back to live with the Auca people. You said that less than 30 years later they went, but I think it was more like 3 or 4 years later. (Of course, that is less than 30 years) :) If I remember right, Elisabeth went there with hers and Jim's young daughter. (I could be wrong though). I remember first hearing about Jim Elliot when I was about 10 years old. It impacted me, even then.
Great missionaries to study!

jennifer768 said...

A wonderful testimony ! Hugs,Jen

Joy Graham said...

Thank you for this Testimony. You are so right, God's plan is always far better than what I had planned! I have just given in and allow Him to do all of my planning now on. I follow where He takes me.

I have learned how to be still, and see if it is His plan or mine, before I move. Make sense to you? Some how, if it is His plan for my life, I get this strong power inside me that keeps me moving toward His goal for me.

At times I have not wanted to answer His call. I really did not want to do what He was telling me to. After years of ignoring Him, I gave in... The person that He wanted me to share His plan of salvation with was on his death bed, just days before passing away.

I was alone in his hospital room with the man that had been so mean to me my entire life. I never understood the hate that he displayed towards me or why the sight of me would anger him so.
I could NEVER talk to him! He always just sat and stared at the ground when I would speak. Forty years of our conversations were the same...I would talk and he would stare at the ground or just get up and walk away. Many times he burst into anger, yelling out threats that made no sense.

My heart raced at the thought of talking to him about Jesus. It was so strong, the urge to tell him that I could not escape it, every thought, every inch of my body would not allow me to leave his room until I had done what I was there for. As I moved my chair closer to his bed a calmness came over me and I told him about God's plan for his next life, the real life.

He said that I had told him he was a sinner years ago. I thought back to that conversation, and explained it more clearly, slowly this time. I explained that we all are sinners and are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

With this he, my father, cried and laughed out of control. I watched as if time had stopped, as he rejoiced, singing amazing grace as loud as he could. Over the next few days, I watched him balance between here and Glory. This man that I had never seen relax or giggle was in a state of pure enjoyment as his heart failed him.

The last day, he spent most of his time singing and laughing, as tears rolled down his face. He was not medicated. He had signed a release not to be put on any medication. He was afraid of "not being in control of his thoughts"

I knew that God was sharing a bit of Glory with me through my fathers eyes. Healing took place that day inside of me and inside of my father. On his last day here, he handed my Mother "roses" that he had picked with a girl named Carol Anne in heaven.

It seemed as if he was a blindman here and could only see in Glory at this point. He leaned over and told Mother, "I picked these roses for my beautiful wife with a little girl named Carol Anne." He handed them to Mother and entered Glory, not returning again.

I saw that at the name of Jesus, he would just laugh and cry with JOY! The fear and mean spirit was drained from his face replaced with a happiness that I had never seen before...I will not put God off again. When He tells me to do some thing I move. Sorry for such a long comment. I felt that someone needed to hear this. -Joy

Joy ~ Doodlebug ~ said...

Beautiful mama,

I'm like you...I can't get enough of missionaries, especially those five and their families!

Great writing!

God bless you!

I love you! 8!

Joy :D

Football and Fried Rice said...

We love, love, love the ywam series!! We are getting ready to read Eric Liddell!

And Jim Elliotts testimony is definitely amazing!

Annie said...

Oh Tammy, our pastor was telling us about this not too long ago!! I will have to get that book! Thank you for such a wonderful post! I really needed to read it today!!! Bless you and your amazing Joy!