My first experience with a deep awareness of revelation knowledge from God that gave direction for action was after being asked to participate in a mission trip to Alaska - summer of 2005. The cost was huge - - we had to self fund as no request was to be made to our church body, we owned and operated a company that required coverage for our clients, we had no savings to provide our wage while we were there, and our dogs required care, to name a few of our concerns. We talked, prayed... interpreted the anxiety in our hearts as a lack of peace from the Lord, and decided against going. After all, we were also called to be good stewards of what God had given us, and leaving on a 2 week trip - taking time out of OUR important business lives - would be fool-hardy. The next morning in my quiet time, I got Philippians 2:21, which says;
"For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. "
This was the first time scripture jumped in my face and shouted in my ear as it did this morning. I broke down in repentence of my selfishness, called my husband to run it by him, and we immediately changed our minds and agreed to go.
The process of preparation was horrible. Suffice it to say we encountered problems and situations at every possible place. Had I not received the scripture that caused me to "know that I know that I know" I would have thought the Lord was trying to keep us from going and we could have given into the strong desire to stay home. My faith was rattled, my prayer life was shaken, everything was going wrong, right up to the day before departure. A pastor from our church came to our home to pray with us, knowing the trial this season had provided. 2 weeks before departure we learned that my husband's beloved dog of 14 years, Briar, was in end stage kidney failure.. and was given a 2 week to 3 month life expectancy. We decided to not leave her home with the dog sitter, but to take her to Jake's parents in Stevensville ON for some TLC. We would not see her for over 3 weeks, we also knew she could be dead before we returned - - the entire 5 hour drive to drop her off was soggy with tears. But we knew that we knew that we knew... Our other 2 dogs were to stay home with a dog-sitter.
Time for departure approached - the preparations for a mission trip - like this one, were complex. We were to help in conducting a wilderness Bible camp for kids in Alaska. We were flying with the supplies and equipment for crafts and games, as well as our backpacking gear and personal items. Planning, preparing, praying - then obsessing, more praying... Scared to death because I didn't have a clue as to what to expect... Would we be eated by bears?? Finally on the plane. The only "work" that remained for me to "do", was to entrust my concerns to the Lord. Our struggling company, left in the hands of a young technician, I entrusted to the Lord. My daughter, who at that time did not know the Lord and was living in a difficult situation, I entrusted to the Lord, and of course, our beloved friend, Briar, was entrusted to the Lord for safe keeping. I discovered the process of entrusting is a deep form of surrender, release, permission for the Lord to be God. I had no idea what that meant for my future at that time. I felt we were leaving a lot behind... but I knew that I knew that I knew.
Well, the first week of camp was, for me, hell. I was absolutely miserable. Didn't seem to have the grace for anything. Until near the end of the first week, when the Lord awoke me from a very refreshing sleep at 4:00 am, just to be with Him. His glory filled our little cabin in the wilderness, known only to me... a Presence like I've never experienced... As I was caught in the Lord's embrace, I realized that there was no place on earth I'd rather be. I'd give anything for this. Things got no easier for the remainder of the week - - in fact during the hike out after the first group's week at camp was completed - and I contemplated returning the following Monday with a new group, I was squaring off with God - - "Lord - - You are just going to HAVE to do SOMETHING... there is no way this body, under my commmand, is ever coming back here AGAIN. Period. I can't. I won't. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME. So, if you think I'm going through this again, You are just going to have to do something to change my heart." I began singing "praise God" to the tune of Amazing Grace (a camp fav) - - I was praising the Lord because it was over.
Yet I knew that I knew... Well, God showed up on the weekend as well. As the team dispersed to do their various things, Jake and I stayed behind - to help out in prep for the next week. In the midst of this, He provided an opportunity for us to fellowship with a native couple. For some reason this really fed my soul, re-charged my battery - - I realized I was ready to return.
Week 2, younger kids, a day shorter, a little easier. The habit of arising very early to ensure quiet time with the Lord by now was well established for a couple of us. One morning, in our wilderness gazebo / chapel, the Lord gave me another scripture - -
"Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days."
Things were really looking up now... We took this as a promise from the Lord for a future harvest in the lives of the dear children we were ministering to.
So, the second week ended, relationships were begun, all went well. God showed up, but I still didn't have a clue as to why we were supposed to be there. That wasn't revealed until later... it continues to be revealed. Stuff for future posts, assuming I keep up this blogging thing...
We arrived home, and over the next several months, I learned a new lesson about God. Remember those 3 things I had entrusted to the Lord? Well, for the first year in many, our company achieved a profit. Today as I write, 2 years later, Briar is still alive and doing much better than that day we dropped her off, feeble, trembling, miserable. Today she is enjoying life, and stronger than then, she is now 16 years old. And remember my daugther? She got saved that year. What else is there to say, but "Lord, You are faithful and I thank You!!!!!"