For the past year, we have been running a mental and spiritual marathon. It has tested us at every turn. We have wanted to quit so many times, but then God whispers through His Word, a devotional, a prayer, a text message, a call, a hug, a language lesson… We found the strength to continue.
Like the first few miles in a marathon, the first few months of waiting was just getting in the rhythm of being patient. We settled into a pace.
At 13.1 miles, it is the half way mark of a marathon. You usually feel good at this point in the race. Not sure exactly where our half way mark was. We felt great down at ECHO in North Ft Myers, FL. We were hopeful by the end of our time at ECHO we would be getting onto a plane to Namibia.
But that didn’t happen.
At mile 20, most people hit a wall in a marathon. This is because one usually only runs up to 20 miles in a training session before a race. We hit a wall when our time was up at ECHO and no visas. That was the end of June.
The last 6 miles of a marathon has to do more with mental will power then bodily strength. One has to will one’s legs to continue to put one foot in front of the other every step. Since the beginning of July, we have had such a hard time from week to week. Anxiety levels have been through the roof. A meeting in September started a 3 month waiting period of getting more letters through the postal service and qualifications verified. Last week’s meeting happened and now we continue to wait for an answer.
An amateur marathon runner goal is not to win the race but to finish. It is awesome for an amateur to finish a marathon in under 4 hours. Jeremy has done this by mere seconds. He finished in 3hours 59minutes 45seconds. Once he crossed the finish line he had to continue to move or his whole body would lock up. The next day he could barely move he was so sore. He had used everything he had to finish.
We have used up everything in us waiting for God to open the door to Namibia. We feel we are inches away from the finish line. So close. Yet, there is still no visas. We have collapsed before the finish unable to move. As we lay on the ground unable to move, we watch the race clock tick away. Other runners are passing us with their arms high in the air as a medal is placed around their necks. We are not sure what to do at this point. Are we able to cross the finish line?
Last Sunday, our teacher shared a few verses that have encouraged us this week.
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”
God is able to keep us from stumbling but He works all things for our good. This may mean God allows us to stumble for our own good. God can rescue us from the Enemy but He doesn’t always. But faith is walking into a roaring furnace refusing to serve another god.
We have been running this marathon to receive our visas to return to Namibia to share our lives with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari desert and to share the love of Jesus Christ with them. When we started, there were no guarantees that our visas would be granted. We serve the God who is able to do all things. His Ways and His Thoughts are higher than ours. He knows how to work all things for the good of each person who loves Him.
Could our failing to receive visas yet not losing our faith be good for us or someone else following our journey?
Could the door closing for missionaries cause Namibian Christians to wake up to reach out to the unreached within their own country?
God is able. We pray that His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.