As a fellow planner, I appreciate this reminder. Life is so much richer when we listen to and follow His lead.
In 1995, I felt the Lord saying “Go to Cuba.” I set up a trip through a contact who knew Cuba well. But he hadn’t been in touch with me, so I was nervous.
I had to fly through Cancun. I remember thinking to myself on the way over, “What am I doing? This is crazy – I don’t know anything about Cuba. If I didn’t have this contact, I wouldn’t have a clue.”
All I knew is that God had said I should go. The trip had no objectives or even any itinerary. Because I like to work from a plan, I was way out of my comfort zone. Although I knew God had told me to go, I was overcome with a sense of inadequacy. If there had been an easy way to quit, I might have.
When we arrived in Havana, it was night. I had no problems at customs or immigration. But then, where was my contact? He never showed. “Now what do I do?” I thought. I wasn’t thinking about Matthew 10, but it was for me a modern version of that experience.
In Matthew 10, we see Jesus calling his disciples to himself, giving them authority to heal diseases, and then sending them out to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and drive out demons.” He goes on to say, “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts – no bag for the journey or extra shirt.”
It’s a crazy plan if you have an MBA or think logistically as I do. I think, “What? Do all that and don’t take anything? That makes no sense!”
I actually had some money and a bag, but I felt completely ill-prepared. I went outside and hailed a cab. As we drove, I asked the driver, “Do you know of any hotels?” He did and he took me to one.
The next day I woke up and began praying, “God, I have no clue where you’re taking me today. I’m waiting for my Cuba adventure to begin. Here we go…”
I had two phone numbers. I dialed the first. My contact didn’t answer. I dialed the second. Eduardo wasn’t in, but his mother picked up the phone. She listened to my story and said, “There is a man named Radames who may help you. Here is his number.”
I called Radames. He answered and I shared my story. He said, “You need to meet my pastor. Can I pick you up and take you?”
Absolutely! I was down to my last straw and now I had some hope.
Radames picked me up and drove me to his church, which turned out to be the largest church in Havana. Pastor Jaime was exactly the person I needed to meet. His church was thriving, having grown from 100 people to 2000 or so including his house churches.
Jaime took me under his wing, spending the rest of the day with me and then inviting me to preach that night. So on my first day, I was going to preach in Spanish at the largest church in the city! It was Valentine’s Day, so I preached on the subject of love. As with everything on this trip, there was no time to prepare. But it went well and a number of people came forward to give their lives to Christ at the end.
And from there my Matthew 10 experience took off. Jaime spent the rest of the week with me, driving me around to see other churches to preach, to listen to stories and pray for people.
I learned so much from the trip. I learned that God wants to grow my faith by putting me in situations where I need him. I learned that often, he doesn’t want my plan, he wants my availability and trust. He wants me to let him lead. I learned that my dependence allows me to see God’s dependability. My lack activates his provision.
This was 26 years ago. The experience had a profound impact on me. So often we read Scripture and we say to ourselves, “That was so long ago, it was for the disciples, but not for me.”
But I’ve seen that God wants to give us the same experience of dependence on the Father today. He wants to send us out with nothing, put us in situations that require faith, and then show up for us. We just have to pray, “Lord, give me a Matthew 10 experience.”
Great to hear such stories about ho9w God uses His faithful servants.
Amen, Mark. It is a lifelong struggle for me. I love that you have this same desire to not grow too comfortable and to allow him to lead.
Faith moves God’s heart.
Reminds me of the first time I came to Africa. I came because Holy Spirit told me to, but I had no idea when I landed where I would stay. I expected that on the plane I might meet someone who would provide that clue, but nope, didn’t happen. So as I stood in the aisle to exit the plane, I reminded God that though I knew He could be an “11th hour God,” that at this point it appeared to be 11:59. Just then, a woman about 3 people back in the line behind me reached forward to tap me on the shoulder and said, “God just wants you to know you can trust Him.” I had no idea who that woman was but my fears as a single woman arriving in a nation with no place to say immediately vanished- I was there because He told me to be there, so He would take care of me. After going through Customs I pulled out the phone number of the 1 contact I had who had not responded to any of my enquiries earlier, and I went to a pay phone and tried again. No answer, but I left a message on his answering machine. I went outside to catch a bus to a neighboring nation where I was to participate in a crusade, but I discovered it was a holiday and buses wouldn’t be running for 3 days! I sat on the side of the road and started to pray, and shortly thereafter my contact arrived with apologies galore, and then began my African adventures. Not sure I’d be living in Africa now if I hadn’t been obedient to that first open-ended call to come here.
What a great story, Melinda!
Man, we need more of these stories!
Availability and trust. Amen.
It was your story that pulled that one out of my memory bank! Thank YOU (obrigada)!
Brilliant story!!! Even I went to Africa without knowing anything and I’m still here 25 years later
Perfect timing. Will be sharing this today.
Thanks for sharing that one Seth. I want to be totally submitted to Holy Spirit’s leading.
“My lack activates his provision.” – So good!
Thank you for sharing this story, Seth. I, like you, like to have a plan and am growing in this exact lesson. Letting the Lord lead out in front and falling in behind Him is the best place to be….Oh, that we would be humble enough to let Him lead our steps! Father, not our will but yours be done!
It really is amazing to see that fruit that bears from our availability and trust. Thank you for this sweet story!
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