Conflict makes me uncomfortable.
When Sam and I first got married, I didn’t know how to deal with conflict in our marriage. If we would enter into any intense conversation, I would shrink back and shut down. It took time, patience on both our parts and guts on my part to open my mouth and speak.
After 17 years of marriage, I’m proud to say I’m much better at conflict resolution and will sometimes even pick a fight to practice my sweet skills! (insert winky smile face here)
As refugees stream into Germany and simultaneously our own little family begins to make a path to this land, it’s not lost on me that God has been preparing me. Preparing us. Not just in dealing with conflict effectively, but preparing us on a large scale.
He’s shown us that we can live simply. That we can make a small footprint in life and not only survive, but thrive. He’s demonstrated His love to us and provisional care to the point that we have no doubt that he will ALWAYS take care of us. In EVERY area of our lives. He’s shown us that education happens not just in school settings, but in the heart of those who truly desire to learn new things. He’s been revealing to me that a house isn’t what makes a home, but happy & healthy relationships. That my kids don’t find their security in having their own rooms from birth to college launch, but rather in whatever space where Sam & I are laughing & living in. Wherever we are walking stride for stride & seeking first the Kingdom of God.
I said to someone today that if you had told me about what we would be moving into this coming year, moving our family to Germany to minister full time to refugees, to the poor and needy in a European country pregnant with conflict – I would have laughed out loud. But thankfully, God is patient and so much bigger than any of us give Him credit for. He gently leads us and when we surrender to Him, He doesn’t dive in and pounce. He comes alongside. He cheers our name. He smiles at us and draws us more closely to Himself.
I recently read in So Send I You by Oswald Chambers the following “Think of the enormous leisure of God! He never is in a hurry. We are in such a frantic hurry. We get down before God and pray, then we get up and say, “It is all done now,” and in the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do the thing. But it is not real, and God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get into the condition in which He can trust us with the reality of His recognition of us.”
How kind is His love in taking us through the valley! Every step is preparing us for something up ahead. Something we can’t see and if we did have eyes to see it, we wouldn’t have faith to believe for it. But He’s building in us endurance, stamina & every character trait we need for the journey ahead. Just like marathon training, you start out training for a 5k and just getting up off the couch, tying on your sneakers and getting out the door. You don’t get to the start line of a marathon without training, planning & a bit of pain & conflict.
As I continue to submit to Christ’s training plan and prepare for the journey ahead, reading the following passage brings me joy and comfort. After all, it’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not even about the refugees. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about the simple Gospel message and the One Who took it ALL to the Cross. Who embraced the truest conflict, our sin & the Father’s response to it in sending His one and only Son Jesus, in our place, to the Cross.
“But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God! But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.” Romans 10:15-17 (the Message version)
Knowing Him and making Him known,