By Jocelyn R. Plett
“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “To those who carry out plans that are not mine. …without consulting me.” …This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
…Yet the LORD longs [waits] to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 30:1-2, 15, 18).
One of the biggest cultural differences between life in Madagascar and Manitoba is the degree to which I feel in control. Despite eleven years in Madagascar we still felt we were at the mercy of the unexpected, the actions of the unjust, and the whims of a culture we did not understand.
There’s nothing like being out of control to push me into pleading the Psalms aloud or coming to the realization that I must submit to the sovereign power of the Almighty God if I mean to survive in a foreign land!
For me, desperation has been a great catalyst for intimacy with God. I’ve learned multiple times that God is truly all I need, and He can surely save His children out of their trouble if I submit to His perfect plan and timing.
In Manitoba, however, there’s such a lovely sense that I can make my own success. Hard work appears to pay off huge dividends. There are fewer situations that show the truth of things: that I am not in control of how life plays out. With the most honourable intentions I can manage my time, money, and energy into “good” things and miss the great things God has in store because I forget to consult with Him on what He wants for me, thinking I already know.
His plans are rarely the same as my own. I don’t tend towards as wild and risky endeavours as He does, because I’m banking on my own strength to accomplish them. If I allow the LORD to set Himself up for glory it will be a “heart in my throat” sort of ride, unable to see where I’ll come out until it’s over and all I can do is say, “Wow! God, You are amazing!”
It’s been a wild ride listening to what God would have of us this year. I would not have imagined coming off the “official” mission field was where God would lead, yet our calling to Manitoba has been as clear as the one to go abroad. It has been an exercise of submission, to be sure! A great deal of anxious wondering, I confess, and subsequent stern self-admonitions to wait patiently for the better plan God has in store.
“Learn to worship God as the God who does wonders, who wishes to prove to you that He can do something super-natural and divine”’ (Andrew Murray, The Believer’s Secret of Waiting on God).