After Trials and Tests Comes the
“NOW I KNOW—”
Remember when I told you of coming home from Mexico? It was at that point I experienced one of the biggest disappointments of my Christian life. Ever since I had been saved at the age of 29, I had wanted to serve the Lord on the mission field. I was convinced, even before Jack came along, that if for some reason God didn’t give me a husband and father for my two sons, I would still go to the mission field.
As a new Christian, I not only steeped myself in the Bible, but I also devoured biographies of Christians—heroes of the faith—and like them, I wanted to be faithful to Jesus, to make disciples of all nations. I thought that America had far more opportunities than the rest of the world—and men needed to leave the United States and reach His world with His Word.
So Jack and I had only been married for a little over four years. For three-and-a-half years we had lived in Guadalajara, Mexico. Jack, a veteran missionary who had served with the Pocket Testament League ministering in more than 31 countries, now assisted other missionaries in Mexico through film evangelization and literature distribution. While Jack was doing that, I worked with English-speaking teens, being used by God to bring them to salvation and then to disciple them in the Word. Plus, when I was physically able, Jack and I would go on trips out to remote villages where I would use my nursing skills to minister to people who were so needy—spiritually and physically.
I loved Mexico . . . it was home to me. And I knew that once our youngest son David, whom I had conceived and given birth to in Mexico, was old enough, I would work more with the Mexicans and finally have an opportunity to learn Spanish. But it never happened. Disappointment hit.
The chest pains kept getting worse. And I often found myself almost out of breath. I had a new baby and by now a full-time ministry with English-speaking teenagers. Very seldom did a day go by that one or more of them was not at our home.
Jack insisted that I see a doctor. The cardiogram and examination revealed that I had pericarditis. I was confined to my bed. I was allowed to get up once a day and then only as far as the bathroom. Jack put a halt to all the visits. Then when he could, he packed me up and sent me back to the States to be examined by the cardiologist I had once worked for. Dr. Mullady’s recommendation to leave Mexico was all that it took for Jack to pack us up and move us back to the States.
I wept. I grieved. I agonized in prayer, crying out to God. As I shared earlier, I felt that I had failed Him. I had taken a much-needed man off of the mission field. I had brought Jack’s missionary career of 13 years to a halt through my physical weakness. For weeks I lived in torment of mind and heart, for I did not see my disappointment as His appointment. Peace came only when I slipped to the floor that one morning, where on my knees I surrendered my expectations, evaluations, and desires and said, “Father, whatever You want.”
With that the tide turned. Jack was asked to build and manage a new Christian radio station in Chattanooga, and I began to work with teens from our church. Soon afterward, I also found myself teaching a small women’s Bible study, as well as a Bible study for college students in the vice-chancellor’s home on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus.
But what about Mexico? What about my desire to minister on foreign fields? What about my disappointment in this respect?
It would take about 21 years for me to see with my own eyes, to hear with my own ears what God was up to when He took us to Mexico only to bring us home after three-and-a-half years. God’s ways, as I would see with hindsight, were far greater than mine . . . much higher. The heart of longing that He had given us for the Mexican people was not in vain; it was simply to be fulfilled in a far greater, more extensive way than my little mind could ever conceive!
You’ve looked at the first chapter of Job. In [esvignore]Job 2[/esvignore] God permits Satan to touch Job’s body, but He forbids him to take his life. Job’s misery knows no end as boils cover his body from head to toe. He longs for death. Then to top it all off, Job’s comforters become thorns in his side.
Do you think God permitted all Job’s suffering just so He could prove to Satan that
Job truly did fear Him? Was this God’s only purpose for Job—a mere pawn in a game of chess between God and Satan? Read [esvignore]Job 42[/esvignore] carefully and then write out your answer to this question, explaining why you answer as you do. Also note what Job learns or states about God in this chapter.
We are half-way through our study of Standing Firm Against the 5 Deadly D’s.
What has God been speaking to you about? Share your testimony below in the Comments area and encourage someone else.
This blog post is excerpted from the out-of-print 30-day devotional “How to Stand Firm Against the Five Deadly D’s” by Kay Arthur.