Molding a lump of clay

Molding a lump of clay
I am a work in progress, molded by my Maker, refined by His fire, shaped with His love. Walk the journey with me.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Never Give Up

About 2 years ago, God impressed on our hearts the idea of doing a sabbatical.  As John and I continued to pray about it and seek His will, we felt led to go to Cape Town where John would do the School of Biblical Studies, and I would finish a book I'd been working on for 4 years already.

But the process of hearing God's call to do a specific thing, and actually doing that thing is not as straight forward as one might think.  The road of obedience is more like no road at all.  It's an overgrown jungle path that one must hack through with a machete while swatting at disease-carrying insects and fighting off poisonous snakes.  It defeats many.

John and I made it through that perilous journey, not because we're super heroes, but because God kept speaking a refrain over and over that we took to heart:   
"Don't Give Up."

 Back in July 2011, when we were told by the South Africa High Commission in London that we had to apply for our student visas in Uganda, we thought God was closing the door on our sabbatical in Cape Town.  We didn't have time to get back to Uganda, apply for our visas, and drive to Cape Town in time for the start of John's course.

But God said, "Don't give up."

We got the visas in 48 hours, and arrived in Muizenberg 2 days before the course started.
God is faithful.

We awoke early the next morning in a house with no electricity, no gas for the stove, and no food.  We were cold, hungry and discouraged.  I couldn't even make a cup of coffee.

But God said, "Don't give up."

I got in the truck, and just five minutes down the road found a place where we could recharge the electricity meter, refill the gas bottle, and buy some groceries, all under one roof.  They even had a coffee shop with pastries.
God is merciful.

During the next 6 weeks, when John was busy with his course, and I was left to entertain the kids, shop for food, fix meals, look for a more permanent house, settle the kids in school, do the housework, etc etc, I felt frustrated.  "What about my sabbatical?" I fumed.  "I'm so busy running the house and family, I'm never going to get to write my book!"

But God said, "Don't give up."

We soon moved to a different suburb and finally got settled enough for me to begin working on my book.
God is gracious.

But then I became overwhelmed at the challenge of rewriting a manuscript that was already 4 years in the making.  The outline I had sketched out years before no longer seemed to fit, the characters kept doing things I didn't expect.  Soon I ran out of scene ideas, and had to open the computer every morning with no idea what I was going to write that day.  I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of words.
But God said, "Don't give up."

Over the next few months, God guided my fingers until one day in April, I was finally able to write the words, The End.

God is a promise-keeper.

One of the Scriptures God used to encourage me during those months in Cape Town is:

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For, 
"In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay."

"But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back."

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Hebrews 10:36-39

I want to do the will of God at all times, but it's not easy.  It takes stubborn determination to keep going against the odds.  A quote I read somewhere sums it up nicely:

She must be prepared to beat to windward if she would reach her goal.

An easy goal that requires little effort to achieve is unsatisfying.  Yet the dreams of God are impossible to achieve on our own.  They require death to self-sufficiency, and acceptance of the fact that without God, we can do nothing of everlasting, Kingdom value.  The only way to fulfill the dreams God puts on our hearts is to cling to him with all our strength and say, "Let your will be done."  Each step of obedience, no matter how painful, is taken with Him right by our side saying, "You can do it.  I am with you.  With me, all things are possible."

I read a poem that thrilled my heart and made me long for more of the things of God:
I prayed for good fortune, 
God gave me dreams.
I dreamed of high places, 
God gave me wings.

May God give you wings to fly to the heights and achieve the God-given dreams that burn in your heart.  
God is able.

Never give up.

Watch this short video for more encouragement...
a man without limbs who never gave up.
Nick Vujicic