Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd had a special visit this past weekend.  Some years ago he was instrumental in sending a team to work in the middle east.  This team had a reunion in Cape Town, and went to visit Floyd.  They shared testimonies, and thanked Floyd for his impact in their lives.  Floyd was very moved by their visit, and didn't want them to leave.  It was such a sweet time for him - and them.  I'm sure it encouraged his heart.

There often seems so little that we can do for Floyd - love him, encourage him, and pray for him.  I’m so grateful for all those who steadfastly keep praying for him over this long journey.  I tell him every time I see him that many people around the world are praying for him each day.

I have had some medical appointments this week and they have gone well.  The news was encouraging.  It looks like the new tumor is "contained" - which is about the best news I could get!  It is operable, and the consensus is to "get it out."  So that's the plan.  I'm booked for surgery on Fri., Jan. 25.  This will be my 6th surgery since the cancer journey began.  I'm not looking forward to it, but it does seem like good news to be able to do this.

I've had lots of encouraging, kind words from friends all over the world.  I once heard that "kind words are a gift of healing."  All the sweet words I have received have been a lovely healing to my heart.  I feel wrapped in their warmth.  I’m so grateful for each one.

A few weeks ago someone shared the photo above of the mother duck.  It has kept coming to my mind as I've been walking through these days.  I think it's how I feel.  I feel covered, carried, and wrapped up in the Lord's safe care - and with all the prayers and encouragements I receive.  It's such a special photo.  Every time it comes to mind it brings a feeling of safety.

"He will cover you with His feathers.  He will shelter you with His wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection."  Psalm 91:4

"Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings."  Psalm 17:8

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings."  Psalm 36:7

"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by."  Psalm 57:1

"For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy."  Psalm 63:7

His sweet presence has been with me each day, and I have felt covered with His love and goodness.  

This week was our "At Home" week here in All Nations Cape Town when we begin the year together.  I shared with our staff on Monday morning about how faithful God has been to me on our unexpected journey!  He has met me at every point along the way with His goodness.

There's a scene in the movie "The Shack" where Mack (the father who's daughter was killed) is talking to the God figure.  He asks "where were you when I needed you?"  God answers "when all you see is your pain, you lose sight of me."

I've thought about this scene a lot.  In fact, I re-watched the movie this past weekend.  When we're in pain, when we're hurting, when our very being is crying out to God and it seems we aren't getting the answers or help we need - it can be so tempting to think God isn't there, that He isn't with us.  The enemy would love for us to think this.

But the truth is that we often are so focused on the pain that we miss God's presence.  He's right with us - "closer than the air we breath" - and yet our pain overshadows the very thing, the very person we need.

There have been times on this journey when my pain, my hurt, my sense of loss has been so profound that I have felt very alone.  I've had to catch myself immediately and not let my heart, thoughts, and emotions stay in that aloneness.  I have to immediately declare the truth of God's word that He is with me.  He never leaves me.  He never abandons me.  He even carries me if I'm too weak to keep going.  He clings to my right hand.  He doesn't even take one second off.  He is completely faithful and always, always, always with me.

Being "on guard" in this way has been a protection to me.  And it has kept me tucked in close to the Father's heart where I need to be. 

"Be strong and courageous.....for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

I love how God reminds us of the same thing over and over - to emphasize the point that He is ALWAYS with us!!

"So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.' "  Hebrews 13:6

"You hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel."  Psalm 73:23

Watching that scene in the movie, I've asked the Lord to protect my heart when I'm in pain from losing sight of Him!!  I don't want to miss out on the wonderful gift of His constant presence!