Now, looking back to our pre-Lomalinda days in Seattle, I see the ways God gently, lovingly persuaded me to be willing to relocate there.
I was scared—so scared—of living in a remote location in a strange-to-me land.
Filled with cold-sweat dread.
So scared I couldn’t think rationally about “Fear not” and “believe” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The unknowns were unnerving. So God set out to change some of my unknowns into something a little more known—a little more familiar.
I’m so grateful God didn’t lose patience with me. In His gentle grace, He prepared me ahead of time by, among other things, leading me to the public library where I studied the geography, culture, climate, politics, and agriculture of the place I’d soon call home. God used that information to shine light in the darkness—Colombia no longer seemed like such a black hole.
And He led me to books Wycliffe missionaries had written and magazines Wycliffe had published. Stories are powerful. Through those stories, I delved into the hearts and minds and faith and experiences of those who had taken wild-eyed leaps of faith into other-worldly realms (both physically and spiritually).
They were spunky folks, using ingenuity and creativity to make a life for themselves and their families.
At times they lived with hardships most of us can’t imagine.
Sometimes they faced terrors.
They chose to live with courage. Tenacity.
They chose to live sacrificially. Faithfully.
As I read, something started shining off the pages of those books and magazines. I beheld those men’s and women’s love of God, their love of His calling, their sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Little by little, through those stories, God helped me take a steady look into the mysterious, dark unknown of Lomalinda.
God helped me contemplate doing the unthinkable by breaking my panic-stricken fears into small pieces.
Through other people’s stories, He acquainted me with specific coping mechanisms I could apply to my own situation.
By walking alongside those people within their stories, God showed me what living by faith means.
And that made all the difference. By getting me accustomed to the idea of living in Lomalinda, He also increased my willingness to move there.
As Lysa Terkeurst once said, “There’s this beautiful thing called imperfect progress . . . slow steps of progress wrapped in grace.”
And when I arrived in Lomalinda, on my shaky, wobbly, mystifying, discouraging first few days, I would do well to remember how God prepared me ahead of time to live there. How good He was to do that for me!
God does “prepare His people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:12).
Sometimes it’s astounding to recognize—or at least begin to grasp—that we are God’s workmanship, that He has created specific things for us to do, and that He prepares them in advance (Ephesians 2:10).
He prepares things for us to do,
and then He prepares us to carry them out.
He offers us an abundant life.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34