Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Honest words in difficult days...

I recently discovered some dusty old journals in my crawlspace. They're from 24 years ago, from when I lived in a remote desert village in northern Sudan, doing community development work. Curious, I began to read them, and before I knew it, I was hooked. I read them all, and what I found surprised me. I have long spoken of my year in Sudan in very positive terms, but what I found in these journals didn't match up with the residual memories I had of that time. The journals were full of appalling reminders of long forgotten challenges and failures -- in my circumstances, but more so in my heart-responses to them. And then I found an old prayer letter that I had sent to my prayer supporters that was so honest that (as I recall) my prayer letter coordinator almost didn't send it out. But it needed to go out. And it still seems a helpful reminder for me. Here it is, if you'd care to read it...

July 22, 1987

My dear supporters,
How shall I begin? I sit here writing on the edge of a cliff. An emotional precipice. Shall I conceal from you the danger I'm in? Shall I write only to leave vaguely pleasing images in your minds of my disconcerting circumstances so as not to upset your respective days? Or shall I write with honesty, revealing the darkness of the mood I find myself in? Forget the half-truths; I need to share my real feelings. Devotions aren't always good and poor circumstances can become extremely weighty when God's not considered as a part of them. I'm tired. Emotionally, spiritually and socially. I'm tired of team life and the constant effort and super-sensitivity it requires. I'm tired of the expectations placed on me to visit by the people in this community when I have nothing of any fibre to say in conversation in their language. I'm tired of waiting for a drilling rig that I'm responsible to oversee when I know nothing of what its fully experienced crew can obviously do without me. I'm tired of keeping busy with whatever needs doing until communities I'm involved with are able to do what is expected of them so that I can then offer our resultant help. The other projects progress while my projects are delayed. I'm tired folks. I wanna come home. Enough Lord. The furnace is hot enough.

"My child! What causes this turmoil in your heart? You have asked me to break you of pride; to soften your heart; to help you to grow mature. Surely you didn't expect such things to be painless, easy, or even fully enjoyable. Ken, I love you. I know that this hurts. But Ken, I have heard your prayers -- your pleading for maturity; your hunger for humility -- and I am only now seeking to answer them. Don't allow the troubles which are now in your life to cause you to despair. I am the God of Abraham, of Moses, of David, and I am your God also. Trust in Me. The troubles are to stretch you and strengthen you. They must not come between us, for I want to be with you to help you with these troubles. You must learn to rest in Me amidst the troubles that life in this troubled world always seems to contain, rather than to try to gain control of the problems by your own power. This is humility -- to admit full reliance on Me because of a recognition of your own inadequacy. You must learn to see Me amidst life's many troubles rather than ignoring My omnipotent sovereignty when life's difficulties begin to hurt. This is maturity -- to abandon earthly shortsightedness in order to realize an invisible and infinitely wise and powerful God's presence with you at all times. Be still, and know that I am God. I love you, and am with you now, as always."

I covet your prayers.
Love Ken  (Psalm 66)

© 2011 by Ken Peters

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