Last week of my sabbatical, I demurred. Can a missionary really take a break? Life happens! First, my children demanded my time and attention. Elle’s Afrikaans world has diminished, and English needed to saturate her language. Every evening of sight words and phonics helped her to master the words of her new country. Noel earned her Texas driver’s license after the second attempt. This was my second child, I was tensing and teaching the art of driving. Second, dealing with relatives’ addictions and health ailments. Waking up at 3:00am for a couple of nights to aid a family member is humbling. Also, attending an AA meeting to support a family member who desires to change. AA’s message that you cannot overcome your addiction by yourself was heard loud and clear. Finally, life experienced these past few months reiterates that people are in desperate need of the Savior.
One year being back in the US, one thing is clear, people don’t see churches as a place to find life’s answers in these current times. Later this month at a Cru staff conference, like-minded individuals distressed by the times will pray to seek the Lord to address ways to reach these people indifferent to church. I am excited to travel to Atlanta for this meeting. Before our sabbatical, Melanie and I believed we would be involved with Cru’s high school ministry, but this door closed. It reminded me of my wife’s recent ordeal when life happened.
By our home, rain poured down, water rose, and streets began to flood. Melanie feared Harvey torrents might trap us like our last visit to Houston. She drove our vehicle desiring to reach higher ground but ended up driving into the flood waters. Unfortunately, our van was totaled by our insurance company. In her moment of unbeknownst PTSD, God reminded her that the flood waters of life are unavoidable. She has been confronted by great changes – aging family members, young adult children and leaving South Africa. In the moments when it seems the waters are rising, she must turn away from fear and avoidance, and trust and seek God’s guidance and help with whatever He allows in her life.
Reading Daniel to Habakkuk during my sabbatical, I reflected on the lives of these prophets. Each felt tortured by God’s judgement on his people, his temple or upon them. But hope’s healing balm comes through as Christ’s arrival is revealed in these Old Testament books. Although life happens, God reminded me of his love and sovereignty. One door closes another door opens, I am looking forward to my new year of ministry with Cru.