Empty

27Feb10

God’s been working on me this month.  The vision I’ve had for so long – to go overseas and serve Him in a place where He is not known – is finally putting on flesh.  Along the way, Jesus has been emptying me of me.  Tonight I find myself sitting – or kneeling, or flat on my face (I’m not sure which it is, really) – at the foot of the cross.  It’s all that matters.  I had started another post while at candidate school, but never finished it (I may in the next few days; I don’t know).  Right now that post seems obsolete, foreign.

I’ve jumped back into life with such force that I haven’t had time to really process what happened in candidate school.  This I know: I am officially a part of the Interserve family, and for that I am incredibly grateful.  I also know that in the coming months I will be gradually phasing out of several commitments.  When July rolls around, the only thing that will be the same for me (Lord willing!) is my job at the hospital.

I came home from CS last Saturday physically and mentally exhausted.  I had twenty minutes at home before I headed to work.  In the past eight days I’ve worked four at the hospital – and they’ve called to see if I could come in on the other four (twice I said yes but by then they’d already found other help).  I also worked a day in Philly and a half-day in Lancaster.  And taught Sunday School.

And then on Thursday I finally had a day of nothingness.  I read practically the whole day – escaped into fiction (something I rarely do).  I read again yesterday.  I needed the other-world-ness of fiction (really of any good story – fiction or not) to reset my mind.  As tired as I still am, I feel strangely refreshed.  My to-do list is insanely long, but my God is incomprehensibly big.

This week I’ve learned again that God is love, that love sometimes hurts (deeply!), but that perfect love casts out fear.

When I got home from CS I was dehydrated, hadn’t run in two weeks, hadn’t eaten more than two salads in the preceding 10 days, and felt like I hadn’t slept for a long time.  I felt like I’d been run over by a train – and I pretty much had to go straight to work.  It was at that point that God chose to remind me of His sovereignty in a way so bittersweet I hadn’t even imagined it possible.  With a river of tears, our congregation learned on Sunday that our beloved pastor and his family will be following God’s call on their lives away from our church come July.  (If you are at all familiar with Tenth, I would highly encourage you to watch this moving video of the announcement.)

At first I thought life couldn’t go on.  How on earth could it go on?  The one thing I’d hoped was sure in life suddenly wasn’t.  I had just assumed that because the two most recent senior pastors to vacate Tenth’s pulpit had done so because of death (after over three decades of preaching each) that we were “safe” for another 20 years at least.  But then I began to realize that no senior pastor has ever really been the center of Tenth (though the heritage is amazingly rich).  The Lord Jesus has always held that position.  And if that were true, than I was still safe.  The year ahead will probably be quite rocky for Tenth.  God is faithful, though, and will in time show us the next step.  He always has.  He always will.

So in emptiness I stand before my King.

My only prayer is this:

Jesus, I need to give myself up.  I am not strong enough to love You and walk with You on my own.  I can’t do it, and I need You.  I need You deeply and desperately.  I believe You are worth it, that You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next.  I want You.  And when I don’t, I want to want You.  Be all in me.  Take all of me.  Have Your way with me. (Francis Chan, Crazy Love, p.111)

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2 Responses to “Empty”

  1. 1 Erin

    Hey friend – I can feel what you are going through – oh can I!!! It’s been a tough/exhausting/filling month myself. I pray your church will find this as a time for growth, not a time for mourning. I’m excited to see how your remaining time goes before your “great adventure”. Do you know yet where you will be going?

  2. 2 Susanna

    Erin, I can’t even begin to think about all the processing you’ve been doing lately… All the questions, the wonders, the I-can’t-believe-life-goes-on feeling. I thoroughly enjoyed Mike’s updates while you were away and prayer for you every time I read one. Thanks for your continued encouragement. :-) I’ll keep you posted!


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