Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles: Supernatural Courage

I have been spending more than a little time on the sofa this week and thanks to Kindle and a gift card I was able to read a book written by Kris and Jason Vallotton titled, "Outrageous Courage:  What God Can Do With Raw Obedience and Radical Faith".  It is a book of stories told by Tracy Evans and written by Kris and Jason, about her adventures with God as a missionary.  Kris has known Tracy for 30 years and knows she is genuine in her walk of faith.  She continues this day to work in Africa, helping the orphans.

Her courage blows my mind.  I think of Kris Vallotton as being radical in his walk with Jesus, but he talked in the book's foreword about how much Tracy scares him.  Why?  He says he "fears God in Tracy, because her life is a continual offering to God, without fear of death."  With Tracy's history and personality, she might have a hard time fitting in full time in what we would call a  "normal" setting, but she fits in perfectly serving the people who live in a garbage dump in the Philippines or driving truck across dangerous territory in Africa to pick up milk for starving orphans.  She is more comfortable talking about Jesus to the homeless under a bridge than to those who fill the pews on Sunday mornings.  What a lioness she is for God!

As I pondered this woman's life, I felt myself longing to live a life of courage for God.........after spending so many years on my sofa staring out our living room window at the same (beautiful) view, when I rose from a bed of disease Joel and I began to plan for a new purpose in our lives.  We have had prophetic words spoken over us that seem to agree with our dreams, but what we sense is there waiting, we have not yet seen.

Don't misunderstand.....we have no plans to work in a garbage dump in the Philippines.  We lived there two years in the 70's and we have seen the poverty and watched people literally eat our garbage. We have compassion for the people in 3rd world countries, but we do not have the stamina to sustain a lifestyle like Tracy's.  We have had a missionary's heart, but felt no call there.

As I read the book I was starting to put my focus on Tracy Evan, "Amazon warrior", when God intervened and showed me that not all courage comes from moving to a 3rd world country as a missionary.  He reminded me that courage shows itself in those who quietly stand firm in their faith while struggling with disease, death, or disaster.  I have a dear friend who lives out supernatural courage as she struggles to live a life limited by severe symptoms that baffle doctors while they try to label what is going on in her body.  And yet her faith is strong, her hope continues, and she faces each day knowing "this is the day that the Lord has made".  We talked yesterday and I came away from that phone conversation humbled by her courage.

When I was going through radiation there was a woman who came in after me.  She would arrive early, and often visited with Joel while I was laying on that steel table praying while the machine delivered its radiation.  She had been diagnosed with the "worst kind of breast cancer", had been through chemo, and was now in radiation.  She rested in bed when she needed to, and she worked when she could.  She participated in life.  She did not hide her bald head, nor did she shy away from her journey.  She faced it head on, giving thanks for each day.  She displayed such courage.

We have friends who are raising their grandchildren, we also have friends who are raising a house full of their kids while in their late 50's.  It takes courage.  I also takes courage to go to work every day when your job does not fulfill takes courage to be kind and forgiving when our flesh tells us to strike back.  There are so many ways to identify courage, as many as there are people I expect.

In the natural world, Joel continues to work as a fill in pastor or Interim.  It is good work and blesses those he serves while blessing us in return.  Selfishly, or maybe not, we want something new.  An adventure that takes our breath away and can be accomplished only by God.  So while Joel continues to work here and we write as instructed by Holy Spirit, we also sense that there is more.  People like Tracy stir us up.  We may shake our heads in amazement, confusion, or even fear while reading about her life or the life of others like her, but we cannot help but wonder what adventures would await us if we would step out in faith and surrender to God's big plans for our lives.  Stepping out into this kind of supernatural courage is available for all of us, whether we live in a small city in Iowa or on a garbage dump in The Philippines.

It is something to ponder.......the supernatural courage and obedience found in the life of Tracy Evans. It is also something to ponder.......the supernatural courage found in a friend who greets each day with uncertainty but faith for healing, the many women in the midst of breast cancer treatments, those who work at a job they don't love.  It takes courage to stand firm in our faith and trust God for those promises we find in His Word.  Courage does not mean you are not afraid, it means you don't let fear stop you.  Certainly Tracy Evans has faced fear, but has not let it stop her from being obedient to God.  Certainly my dear friend has faced fear, but has not let it stop her from praying for healing nor standing firm in her faith as she battles a broken body.  This supernatural courage?  It resides inside each one of us!  We are empowered by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.  Yeah, that power.  That power and trust = courage.  Supernatural courage.  Something to ponder...............


Anita Johnson said...

I'm sort of speechless. His love is something to ponder. I see His work in you and Joel. And I give thanks to Him for you both. XO

Renee said...

Hugs Anita.......we give thanks for you, too.