Sunday, January 03, 2010
Was it only five weeks ago I felt God’s call to go to India? By saying yes to something I thought I would never say yes to, have I been altered already, never to be the same? Life can change so quickly, for good . . . and bad. In this case, it’s so nice to be sharing something good.
I'm in awe of the many answered prayers already, and have so much to praise God for.
My travel inoculations and flu shots are complete. I received those combined shots two days before Christmas in both arms. Boy, did my arms hurt! I felt tired, my bones seemed to ache, but the Lord helped me do all the things a mom has to do at Christmas. All I can say is; that when it comes to cooking the holiday turkeys in our house, it’s a good thing David and I are a team.
The plane tickets have been purchased. The portion of the CCI team that I will travel with leaves Vancouver January 16 on Cathay Pacific. There will be a short lay-over in Hong Kong on the 17th, then arriving in Chennai, India on the 18th.
I have been humbled and amazed at the support coming in. I cannot say thank you enough. All in all, more than half of what I need for the trip, God has already provided. And one of my mother's friends has sewn several cotton skirts for me to wear in India--a hard thing to find in the stores at this time of year.
But as Christmas eased into the New Year I began to panic. Time was running out. In typical British-European fashion I had my checklist laid out. I needed to learn how to use Skype—a computer program that enables you to see and talk to people all over the world. I needed to know how to record interviews on Skype and also in person on a hand-held recorder. I wanted to make sure that the leadership at CCI and Antony in India would have everything set up for interviews, interpreters, etc. etc. etc. I wanted to have a rough outline of the book completed and interview questions prepared BEFORE I arrived in India.
On the last day of December that panic grew--only 15 days and I would be leaving for India.
I hadn't even got on the plane, and already I was a steam engine quickly running out of steam. In my mind I felt like one of the British-run trains from my novel that is set in Indian during the days of the British Raj. I was chuffing and stopping miles short of the station.
Sure I'd been praying. I'm serious about my devotional time with God every day. But on the morning of December 31--with so much to do, my checklist waiting--I felt the Lord say, Not today, child. Come away for a while. Spend the day with me.
Every once in a while I do something right. I listened to that still small voice and spent the day quietly, just me, my Bible and the Lord. It was exhausting. We talked over so much. I cried and prayed for my loved ones, the ministry I was committed to, the task, people who need to be saved in India and all over the world. And then I wept some more. By the close of the day I was too tired for the New Years get-to-gether one of our church friends was putting on. I came home early from that gathering and went to bed at my normal time.
The next morning a new energy filled me on awakening. On New Years Day I received the answer to 2 prayers. I learned how to use the hand-held recorder, and was able to successfully record a skype conversation with a cousin in Ontario. I'm now filled with assurance the Lord will see to each and every detail not only for this trip, but for the writing task as well.
But something else happened during my prayer time. The Lord never calls us to prayer and then leaves us. He lingers close by, very close. Towards the end of our conversation it seemed that He brought into my mind something special, something in a language only my heart would understand. When each of us come to God and open our hearts to Him, He speaks to us in ways that are unique. In my case He works through the way He created me--an artistic person who sees life through metaphors and scenes. He speaks to my husband in different ways--practical ways like an engineer understands.
My fictional story Unveiled is set in India, circa 1919. And in my prayer time, behind my closed eyelids, the Lord Jesus reminded me of my favorite scene from my own novel.
It is the death scene. A very famous massacre has just taken place in Northern India. My character Miriam--an Indian Christian--watches across the bagh (a dusty field) where so many Indian people are dying. With a bullet in her chest, Miriam’s body is shutting down. Her eyesight is fading . . . .
From the novel Unveiled--
“Miriam opened her eyes and saw a man walking toward her from the far side of the bagh. A soldier? He was not dressed in khaki or like a British civilian, but robed like any man of the east in clean flowing white, the sun flashing behind his head. He walked among the bodies and those clinging to life. He touched many with his hands, his face heavy with sorrow. He stopped, and his searching gaze found her. He smiled and then she understood that sense of love and joy she had felt earlier. A fresh cooling breeze entered the bagh and rose petals danced a wild, joyful dervish upon it. He beckoned to her with his open hands––hands that bore scars of their own.”
And that was when I wept some more. Only God would know what that scene means in its totality to me as the author. He was asking me to die completely to myself. That as He held out His hand to my fictional character, He was holding His hand out to me. Come with me, child. I will show you the work I have for you to do.
I thought I had died to myself. I thought I had bent my knee at the foot of the cross and given up my own ambitions and plans. I thought I had taken up the cross to follow Christ. But since saying yes to something I never thought I would say yes to, I felt the Lord saying there is more to surrender. He is asking me to empty myself of ALL. How much will I give up to follow Him?
Am I being altered in a way that is deeper than my deepest dreams? Is He using my own metaphors to teach me? Or is it the other way around? Were those metaphors that developed during the writing of my fictional novel, the beginnings of the vision He wanted me to have?
I don't know all the answers. All I know is I am in awe of what God is doing. So I thank you for your prayers. I can feel the touch of your petitions on my very soul. But I still need you to pray, so here are my needs:
That I don’t become overwhelmed with all the necessary preparations.
That I am properly prepared with all the right questions for the interviews.
That my technology works.
That the other interviews will be set up in India to capture the story, and that an interpreter be provided, and conversation will flow easily.
But most of all that I encounter the Lord--and become the servant He wants me to become.
Psalm 23: 1-3
'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name sake.'
'Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Note: The quoted portion from the novel Unveiled is not for use other than with the permission of the author, Christine Lindsay. Perhaps the Lord has use of that novel, even yet. Blessings on you.