Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Old Fashioned Faith

Tonight I sat across from a 97 year old man who has the faith and obedience I long to have. He had been a missionary in China back in the 1930s-1950s when mission work involved leaving everything you have and going to a country with little amenities, no computers or phones for fast communication, no health insurance, no chance of getting home for YEARS. His first term was 9 years. He went as an unmarried man and while there met a single missionary woman who had gone into the country believing she would never get married - and they married in China and raised children who also gave their lives to service of God and the world in need. He was often without any communication with anyone who spoke English - had to learn Mandarin, was called upon to do things like tooth extractions and medical care (without any training) walk through snow covered mountains in Tibet without just wool socks and sandles ... He HAD to depend on God to get him through. What an example of old fashioned faith that I fear is too lacking in our modern world of conveinience and selfishness.

I want to be like that. I want to follow God with all that I am no matter what the cost. I want to believe that God can use me weak as I may be, for His glory and perpose in the world. I want to be different.

I feel like this culture that we live in (or I live in at least) is full of ways to ignore God. We have so much at our fingertips: instant gratification on every level. If we want to eat we have a million options which involve no work (and often no nutrients). If we want entertainment it's there for the asking - often in forms that we would be embaraced to have God looking over our shoulder (but isn't He always there?). If we want people to talk to we don't even have to be in the same room - or state or country, we have Skype, facebook, email, telephones ... we can turn to people faster than we would think of turning to God. Education? Get a loan - everybody does! Need a new car? Get one. Don't have money for groceries? Don't bother asking God! (I know I am stepping on toes here - and I'm just trying to figure all this out myself) I feel that we as a nation - a modern world in fact, have done so much that makes it easy to push God out of our everyday lives. Talking to God doesn't take on the importance in many of our lives that it should - that it did for men like this 96 year old I met tonight.

Then he prayed: he prayed for me. He prayed for my husband. He prayed for my health. He prayed for my husband dealing with my health. He prayed for our marriage - for our ministry - for God to bless and use us in this world for God's glory. His prayer wasn't fancy or pretentious, it was real and by the way he talked to God you could tell that talking to God is something he's done a lot of in the past 96 years.

I want to have that kind of relationship with God when I'm 96. I want the kind of faith that surpasses generations and is untouched and unwavering in a culture that temps so many of faith to depend on anything other than God. I want to look back on my life and see without a doubt God's smile.

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