Saturday, July 11, 2015

A New Dawn

I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than the sentries long for the dawn.  Psalm 130:6

It was twenty seven years ago on July 14th that we arrived back in Canada from our ten years of service in Pakistan.  Even though it was not clear what our ministry assignment would look like after one year away we had no clear idea at the time that we would not be returning.  All of our belongings were put in storage with the assumption of returning.  But that day never came. There have been changes and losses in life.  
The ministry Ed had in Pakistan was turned over to a capable Pakistani man who has since passed away, the airport we landed in here is gone even from its site, the house we lived in was moved away, our earthly possessions put in storage in Pakistan were destroyed in a fire, the financial support base almost entirely changed, both of our parents passed away, one of our mission agencies no longer exists, and even the church building we got commissioned in was turned over to another group. Pastors and mission leaders have changed, friends have moved, children have left home and gotten married.

Initially I was not ready for anything new. We were trying to adjust to leaving the former and making sense of present changes in their unclear confusing state.  Can’t everything just stay the same?  I would not want to relive those in between moments of leaving the former relatively secure activities, places, and people, and discover new ones. For a time I went through an identity crisis because usually an identity is formed and defined by what you do and I did not know what God had in mind for me to do! 
Then…the new suddenly arrived just like the dawn of a new day. Everything started to make sense and fall in place.  All along God had been preparing me in so many diverse ways for this present ministry in North America among Muslim women. He had been equipping, sustaining, and stretching me for something entirely brand new. Twenty seven years ago I could not think of anyone whom I could consult here in Canada about reaching out to Muslim women in my homeland.  Everyone I knew was ministering in Muslim-majority lands. Even mission agencies in that era were reluctant to recognize ministry in the West. Today that has changed considerably. It was like the Spirit led me to a high diving board and said “dive off”.  It has been an exhilarating dive because I have been carried into new uncharted waters by God Himself. He made the waters and knew what lay ahead.

I think I am probably a typical woman who prefers stability and security with a minimum of changes and risks. Maybe you can identify with me. Perhaps you are about to embark on leaving something familiar and can’t see the way ahead clearly. Having an identity crisis? Crying over saying good bye to possessions, places, ministry, or people? It is painful for sure.  But, I suspect a new dawn is waiting to break forth for you, too, just like it happened to me.
Dear heavenly Father, please help me to long for You even more than a new dawn in ministry. In Jesus’ name, Amen.