From prostrate prayer on a concrete floor in Southeast Asia to wordless worship in warm West Africa. How did I move from profound grief into a deluge of delight?
When God gave me the comfort of His Word in Hebrews 12:12-13, I knew that if I remained in my current darkness of despair, I would never heal. The first part instructs, “Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down.” From the expanse of my agony, I called the only name I knew would hear. The only name I trusted to answer. The only name that could rescue. Jesus.
The next verse revealed my next move, “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” For me this meant stepping into the lighted path of truth. Exposing the darkness. If I didn’t, I would limp along without the necessary braces to support my damaged limbs. I reached for help. I rallied a few close girlfriends at home in the US and standing with me on the mission field. Baring my brokenness brought the needed strength required to leave the comfort zone of the familiar. I pondered the liability this exposure could bring: damaged reputation, defeated expectations, ruined relationships, scarred rejection. However, the path to obedience is riddled with risks. If there wasn’t sacrifice, if nothing was required or lost, if obedience cost us nothing, is it really a sacrifice? Following Jesus into the realm of impossibilities is always worth whatever it cost us.
I’m thankful I took that risky step of returning home.
My sending church embraced me. The body of Christ filled my home with furniture and food. A godly Christian counselor, trained in my specific area of trauma, took me in and has been counseling me free of charge. Some great guys painted my house, inside and out. I was able to purchase the “church lady” Buick – 19 years old with only 40,000 original miles. My children received scholarships to attend a private Christian school. My organization walked each step with me, loving and supporting me all the way. Never turning their back on me. Giving me a position to continue impacting the un-reached with the Gospel.
Back on that stony slab in a foreign land far from home, I felt like I was losing everything. Risking it all. What I gained was so much more in the journey of obedience toward the unimaginable.
Today, I am part of a team where I see God do the impossible with a very marginalized, under-reached people group, the deaf and deafblind. We meet people who have never had an education, a language to read or write or speak, and watch how God reaches their hearts like only He can. I am working on a team called SUN (symbolic universal notation). It’s a whole new language written in universally recognized symbols. These symbols are being taught to reach the illiterate deaf and deafblind with God’s Word.
One such soul is David*. He is Muslim. He is 19 years old. He was born deaf and mostly blind. When his parents took him to the hospital for treatment, the drops he was given caused complete blindness to develop. David has never had any education. No one has ever been able to help him. Pastor Ra*, a pastor to the deaf, in this west African country, and also an audiologist, was called in to help evaluate David several years ago. It hurt his heart to have to tell the family that there was nothing he could do to help. That all changed! Using 3D cards to teach the symbols, accompanied with creative concept demonstration, and sign language instruction, David learned to read and sign twenty symbols in five days! Then he read two lines of Scripture and was able to sign the meaning back to us. His mother and father were extremely grateful. They publicly thanked us for coming, “Not to help the rich but the people who most need it.” They knew we were Christians. They knew that all we were going to teach their son would point him to Scripture. This did not bother them. Their son was learning to read and communicate! The impossible became reachable.
Pastor Ra’s wife said he would awaken at night asking God to show him how to help the deaf understand God better, when they don’t read or understand enough sign language. She said, “God sent you!” Ra thought the task impossible but believed Jesus’s words in Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (AMP**)
Let’s not give up. Let’s persevere. We will weep, pray, fast. We will be called to leave our comfort zones and act as a result of our faith. The tasks will require risk and sacrifice. We should expect opposition. Hold on to each other. Fight the good fight together in unity. Rely on His strength and wisdom to accomplish His purposes. Finish strong so we can see those things, beyond the bounds of possibility, made possible. Believing in our God who can accomplish His will; Whose purpose no one can thwart.
And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. (2 Cor 9:8 AMP**)
His Excellent Grace sustains and compels me onward.
Living the impossible,
*names have been changed for anonymity
If you’d like to read about this project to the deaf and deafblind, please visit https://bibleineverylanguage.org/processes/sun/