Tuesday, January 9, 2007

End of the Spear

I am currently reading Steve Saint's biography End of the Spear. This book is a total page-turner. Proof that the best of the best stories of lives are authored by Him alone-- the ultimate Authority on crafting all things together perfectly. If I didn't have children and a husband and a life that needs me to stay "checked-in", I would probably read all 338 pages straight through. Well, I know I would. I've been meaning to read it for a while now, and now as we've hit January (the anniversary of the deaths of the five young men who dared to make contact with the fierce tribe who's members ultimately took their lives in 1956), I decided this was my time to finally go get the book. I've read and seen so much about the story that I already know what happens, but this (fantastic) book fills in all kinds of holes in the story and is such an incredible testimony to the Lord's intricate and amazing work through time and hearts devoted to Him. And before I say what I came for, I'll throw in the plug that these men and their wives made significant decisions of faith to follow the Lord anywhere He led while in college, some were InterVarsity students, Jim Elliot was at the first Urbana and presented a drama at the second one, and Pete Fleming attended Urbana also.

This story haunts me. I have spent more than one night after reading books/seeing movies and documentaries about these men, their wives and families and this tribe awake and aware of all kinds of things within me. Mostly, this chapter of God's story fuels my God-given passion to really take on all He has for me, for Jim and I, and our family and fully embrace all He gives us to do in His Kingdom(it's fueled the faith of countless others too over the years). A while ago I said I'd go anywhere, I'd do anything for Him, whatever that meant, and I meant it. When Jim and I joined our lives together we took that devotion we'd both had individually and remade that heart-decision to take on that journey together, wherever it leads. These chapters of His story fuel that heart-passion and also cause all those hidden things within me (fear, uncertainty, uncomfortableness) to rise to the top and get dealt with if I will let Him. Would I really go anywhere, would I really do anything? Am I doing the anything He's asking me to do on a daily basis? If the Lord hand-crafted a story of my life that involved my husband's death for His glory would all be well with my soul, or would I turn away? As the questions rise and my heart's laid bare, each time I'm reminded again that yes, it would be well- by no means without incredible pain, but it would be well- and of course it would not be without incredible joy either. He will be with me, I know His way is best- it would be well.

You catch yourself, knowing His will is always best, but wondering if you just don't agree with Him to do anything He asks, maybe He'll just leave you alone. Maybe pain, grief, warfare and difficulty will just leave you alone and you can get comfortable (although ultimately miserable) and keep your life nice and safe. Let's face it, who would really rather settle for that than to take hold of the great Adventure, and hold of the hand of the God who promises to never leave us or forsake us?

I know there are many reasons that this story haunts me. I'm sure one reason it does is that I have this desire that won't be satisfied in this life to meet the five men that gave their lives- a waste so many people said- but oh, to see God's work through their deaths- the worth of their sacrifice and the faith of their wives and families to continue on in the story God had (has) for them had immeasurable eternal value. I think really all I want is to shake their hands and to say, "really, were you really as ordinary as I know you were? Can it really be true (and I know it is) that God could do so much through your lives- ordinary men with an extraordinary God at the center of their hearts?" I think a reason the story haunts me is that I know Jim is so much like them, that our marriage and commitment to the Lord is so similar to their own stories. I know Jim would have the time of his life doing exactly what those men were doing, and I am not unlike their wives at all. It makes it all hit home so deeply and again leads me on that journey of "am I really willing to do anything, God?" that I explained before.

At the base of what I'm feeling is I think this: I remember receiving something from Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) that had 2 Chinese characters- risk and blessing. The idea that you take the risk, you receive the blessing. I really, Jim and I really, want to take the risk, and receive the blessing- which will be far greater than anything we could dream up or imagine for His glory. So, God, are we really taking the risks You set before us? Are we doing all you have for us now, every day? We know the power and firestorm of faith that can be fueled out of just one heart on fire for You- are we living that way? Or are we mostly being safe with a few bigger steps of faith thrown in every once in a while? God, we really, really, want the whole Adventure for Your glory.

And, I just had a thought I felt like I needed to throw in (I think it's funny, but maybe it's just because it's 3 am and I'm at my computer by myself)-- for all of us who catch ourselves thinking that we need to be in some exotic country to be a "true" missionary or that you can't have a "normal" life, job, whatever, to have a faith-filled life fully devoted to His service, have you ever considered that America is exotic to someone else across the world in a jungle somewhere?


Anonymous said...

Megan -
I wennt to college with Nate Saint's grandson (Steve's nephew) Dan. It was neat to see the legacy of faith that really flowed through the entire family. They are very ordinary type people - but so incredibly useful to our God! (I also had the honor of meeting Barbara Youderian - as Roger had actually graduated from Northwestern and the family still supports the school).

Ashley said...

Good post ... Somehow your last paragraph in particular really hit home ... Argh! Thanks for making me think, Megan!