Meltdown. The Urban Dictionary describes the evidence of a person having a meltdown with some choice words. What best described my meltdown the other day would be, “I cracked!” After piling wrong thinking upon wrong thinking, I had built a thought-pile about myself and what I was doing, which when finally put under some stress cracked like thin ice.
I’m lucky though. I’ve cracked before, but over the many years, when I’ve had meltdown moments, my wife Amy has always spoken truth to me. The Scriptures say the Truth sets you free! Since Jesus is the Truth, anyone able to offer truth to another soul gives them light and love. It was in the meltdown of last week I needed to hear truth.
Over the past few weeks, for one reason or another, I’ve been dwelling on bad thinking. Let me be more blunt. I was listening to lies in my mind and believing them.
At lunch today, I sat next to a friend from Korea. After spending many years of leading, teaching, and discipling youth in South Korea, my friend Paul went to work in the slums of India. Most of his days were spent clipping and cleaning dirty finger nails of children; then he’d send them on their way with a small piece of candy. Some days he wondered if he was really making a difference.
Paul then reflected on how his parents received the Gospel. After hearing God’s call, many missionaries rowed up on the shores of Korea only to be executed before they even spoke a word. As more young men and women went to this land, the love of Jesus was finally preached and heard. As Paul retold this story to me, I witnessed the immense gratitude for those who came as a witness to his country. His entire family are Christians because of the simple obedience of those early missionaries, who gave their lives for the Gospel.
Paul looked straight at me with tears in his eyes and said, “If they could sacrifice like that for me, I can do this in India. I learned my value isn’t in what I do but in who I am.” Taking a hard swallow and feeling a lump in my own throat, I thanked Paul for reminding me of God’s truth.
When my thoughts betray me and need realigned to what’s true, I’m also thankful for God’s Word to bring clarity to my soul. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations … you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” (Jeremiah 1:5-7) Passages like this remind me and thousands before me of our value. Before our biological clock began on this planet, God knew us. And because He values us, He even lets us in on His grace-plan for others.
As I enter the third quarter of this year, and Amy and I continue to dream and seek God for the next steps of following Him in ministry, I’m craving to be confident in who I am and worry-free about waiting. We sense our vision is becoming clearer through prayer, and we are desperate for God show us the keys to unlock the how-to’s of our passion. Amy recently shared with me the following excerpt from Peace Child by Don Richardson.
How could one man and his wife reverse the worldview of an entire people, which had already been entrenched in their collective psyche for perhaps thousands of years?
I knew deep inside that mere recitation of the gospel would not be enough.
I wanted to win this generation … on their own ground and by their own fireplaces.
It looked as though God had led me to the end of the earth and left me alone to grapple with a communication problem greater than any He had ever required prophets or apostles to face. Surely His grace would find a way to break through …. There must be a way, but what could it be? “Lord,” I prayed aloud as I walked along, “I need Your help!”
If Jesus were physically present … He would not be stymied. Even if there was only one solution, He would find it unerringly. But Jesus was not there in physical manifestation. There was only a man and a woman who hoped to quality as His representatives, who trusted that the Spirit of Jesus was living and working in them. So that Spirit would have to reveal to them the same key their Lord would have used, or there was no hope. Reduced to utter dependence upon God, we set ourselves to hope for that key.