Sometimes God plants a seed in our heart that takes years to grow. He is the Master Gardener sowing, fertilizing, watering, and harvesting when and where he chooses. The results of His work are always extraordinary. I’ve been vividly reminded of this truth lately and I want to share with you what I’ve learned about God’s timing.
Truth be told, His ways don’t always make sense to me. I’ve questioned His timing on many occasions. He and I have had many a conversation that involve me asking lots of questions and sometimes He answers. I can almost see Him chuckle when I ask, “Are you sure about this, Father?” Many times He simply says, “Your just gonna have to trust me.”
In my late teens I wanted to go to Africa. Going to Africa seemed like a God-sized task for this small, town country girl. Eric was ready and willing to go, too. Over the years we had several opportunities to talk with representatives from the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and we always expressed our desire to be missionaries—-especially to Africa.
That door never opened. Time passed, our family grew, stuff happened and life went on. I’m not sure when exactly, but at some point I stopped thinking about going to Africa. My wild obedience consisted not of going, but staying, right where God planted us.
The 30 Year Plan
Fifteen years after the seed was planted, a friend began talking to me about going to Africa. He had been several times and as of this writing has been 20 or more times. I gave him all the good reasons I couldn’t go. I knew it wasn’t time.
Fifteen more years pass. It’s February 2015. My friend brings up Africa again. I was surprised and very much unprepared when the dormant seed broke through the fertile soil of my heart. I committed to pray about it not because I needed an answer but because I needed time to process with the Lord what He was doing in me. A few months later there’s another conversation. “It’s time,” I tell him, “and I’m ready.”
Two months from today (June 16) I’ll set foot in Johannesburg, South Africa. We’ll spend most of our two-week trip in Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River Valley, working alongside a local pastor/missionary. We’ll show the Jesus film, handout water filters, and share the gospel.
It’s been 30 years since the seed was planted. I thought it had died. But the Master Gardner was tending it—and preparing me—all along.
With Fear and Great Joy
In some ways it would have been easier to go to Africa when I was 20. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was bold and fearless and very naive.
Now I know.
I’ve seen a few things. I’ve heard more. I’ve imagined much.
And I am afraid.
But I am also filled with great joy.
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:8
It is not uncommon in this life that at unexpected good news, fear and joy are intertwined. Tweet this
I am going to Africa with fear and great joy.
Here’s a photo of me with a few members of the mission trip team:
Will You Go With Me?
3 ways to go with me to Africa
- Pray for me and the team beginning now. If you’ll commit to pray I’d love to know.
- Buy a water filter through Filter of Hope. You can go here to donate and state that you’re giving on behalf of the Africa Mission Trip.
- Subscribe to my blog here and stay updated via email. I’ll share more in the coming weeks and I’m planning to blog throughout the trip and share lots of photos.
Can you relate to this “fear and great joy”? I’d love to hear your story.