Don’t accumulate possessions. Accumulate experiences. The following is a true story, a most recent experience of a friend and her best friend. It is a story of lives “ALL IN” for Christ and ears strongly tuned into the will of God and understanding that a relationship with God is on HIS terms. The “rules of engagement” for their lives are directed by Christ, not themselves.
I cannot tell you the names of the people in the story for it would endanger the lives of those overseas. My friend, who I will call “Lisa”, is a family practitioner. Her best friend, who I’ll call “Sally”, in the last several years, had her brother-in-law and sister to follow God’s “rules of engagement” and head to the mission field. They have been placed in an environment very hostile to Christianity. Just weeks ago Sally called Lisa (the physician) in need of help for her sister whose baby was sick on the mission field. The 15 month old was experiencing recurring ear infections and an upper respiratory infection and the 3 year old had malaria. Lisa was quick to contact them and do what she could by phone and computer. The baby wasn’t getting better, in fact it started wheezing. The father and the baby traveled for medical attention to a nearby large city to seek specialized help. After returning from the city the baby just didn’t get better.
In the midst of dealing with sick children, one night the mother and father and their four children, 15, 10, 3 and the baby went to the house of a lady who was teaching them how to cook and prepare food with no electricity. There was a celebration going on as well because the lady had just gone from a dirt floor to a new concrete floor. While visiting for dinner, the 3 year old stumbled and was scalded by a pot of boiling water. HE was badly burned which required emergency treatment. GOD PROVIDES.
First, when a family has an extreme emergency on the mission field and has to be transported to a better place for serious medical care, they have to rely on the generosity of Christian businessmen who own private planes and can quickly get them to emergency help. To get a plane into this particular country and back out to the larger city is NO EASY TASK. AND IT WAS a true miracle getting through the red tape to get a private plane and pilot into that region to get that burned child to some help. God didn’t just provide a small plane, but a big enough plane to evacuate the whole family because the baby was still sick. GOD IS SO GOOD, AND uses what I call “ALL IN CHRISTIANS” TO HELP IN A CRISIS.
Second, a 911 call came to the States to Sally, then to Lisa. There was no hesitation. Both of them and the grandmother booked tickets and boarded a plane. Dropping everything to be “ALL IN” FOR GOD and a family who God had called to a very DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS RULE OF ENGAGEMENT. Lisa was leaving behind a daughter who was awaiting surgery, not to mention, scheduled patients. By the time they arrived at the hospital in the city, the child was receiving burn treatment, but the COMFORT that God brought through Sally, Lisa, and the Grandmother was better than any “morphine” that could have been prescribed to that family. The baby was still sick, and the three women were able to help the baby, comfort the other children and lend helping hands in countless ways, from bringing comforting gifts to much needed medical supplies. I am pretty sure Sally and Lisa stayed in the same clothes for 2 straight days, maybe 3.
It just warms my heart to know of the LOVE of family and friends and willingness to put self totally to the basement. To GO, without a second thought. The story gets even better………I just want to stop and say right here………as I heard this story for the first time from another dear friend, she said, “Call Lisa and have her tell you the story……I just can’t do it justice.” She was right. As the details of the story unfolded, chills started on the back of my neck and ran down my spine the whole time we sat at Panera Bread as she shared her “rules of engagement”. It was so much better than any movie I have ever seen. ON WITH THE STORY.
Grandma stayed for another week to love on and support those 3 precious grandchildren so that the mom could focus on the 3 year old with the severe burns, which was going to require all of her time. Sally and Lisa headed back to the States. They for sure knew as they boarded the plane for home that they had heeded God’s voice and call. But little did they know God had more in store for them to do.
Upon arriving in Amsterdam, they were told their seats had been given away because they didn’t arrive an hour before. They were forced to get a hotel and board a plane the next day. Of course Lisa was frustrated as she was needing to head home to waiting patients and a daughter who was facing surgery. Sally immediately comforted her and said, “God has a reason we should not board that plane. We need to accept it. Get some rest. We have trusted Him this far. We will just keep trusting.”
The next morning they boarded a plane for Detroit. On arriving in Detroit they were told once again there were no flights. After a night’s rest Lisa was resting in God and really didn’t say anything to the attendant except, “We really need to get home.” Funny……this is when the story starts to heat up. God had been in control the whole time and they had seen His hand in their obedience to be there for this family, but now is when they really SEE HIS HAND for the unexpected……”Ladies can you step over here with your bags please?” the attendant said. It was odd to them but they followed. She slipped 2 FIRST-CLASS TICKETS to Charlotte into their hands. Tickets for the flight loading across the breezeway. As they looked at her with puzzled faces, she explained that the only thing available was first-class and there were only 2 seats. She just was led to give the tickets to them and she didn’t want her boss to know so she wouldn’t get in trouble. GOD…GOD…GOD working in the heart of a stranger!!!
As they boarded the plane with excitement over the HUGE GOD MOMENT, they were excited to be first timers ever in FIRST-CLASS. (Isn’t it so cool how God wanted to send them home in style after their sacrifice?) As Lisa sat down, she was greeted by a very pretty lady who introduced herself. Lisa enjoyed talking to her new friend the whole two hours home. They exchanged stories and got to know each other quite well. Lisa shared that she and Sally had gone to help some family members. The new friend was very engaged in the conversation and delighted because all four of her children were born on the mission field. She also mentioned that she was headed to South Carolina to speak. She travels and speaks all the time. As a side note she mentioned she had a son who had experienced some fame which had in turn given her more opportunities to speak about her passions.
Just before getting off the plane Lisa shared a picture of her family and the other lady shared a picture of her family. As Lisa studied the picture, she grinned from ear to ear and said basically, “OH MY GOSH! I know who you are now!!!” She also learned this lady struggled with vertigo. As they deboarded the plane and were walking along the airport corridor, Lisa and Sally turned to say goodbye and the new friend literally feel down sick right at Lisa’s feet. Lisa immediately went from friend mode to putting on her doctor’s hat and started working to help her. Sally grabbed her stuff and knew the lady well enough by then to take her phone and contact the people meeting her at the airport to pick her up.
To fast forward……Lisa and Sally were assigned by God to miss their flight in Amsterdam to be God’s provision for this lady who fell sick and was alone in the Charlotte airport. Literally, God provided Lisa and Sally as “HIS ANGELS” to care for her. Not only had Lisa and Sally responded to God’s call to go to Sally’s family, but God had orchestrated them to help a stranger.
Later, after they were able to get the lady to her contact and help her medically, they called to check on her. She was able to get well enough to speak and then fell sick again but was so thankful. She mentioned that as she has traveled all over the country to speak, many times by herself, she often experiences bouts of vertigo. God never failed to provide people, mostly strangers, to care for her when she got sick.
This true story so strengthens my faith to be “ALL IN” for an ALL-KNOWING, ALL-LOVING GOD. It inspires me to desire to know God more, to clearly know HIS VOICE when He speaks. To be a TRUE FRIEND to my friends, AND TO BE A FRIEND TO STRANGERS. The one person I would like to meet and talk to would be the flight attendant. I would love to ask, “What made you give them those 2 FIRST-CLASS TICKETS, and risk your job?” I know it was God, whether she was a Christian or not. God wants us to live surrendered lives, to give HIM complete control. When we surrender and allow HIM to lead completely, it’s an opportunity for God to show Himself in ways that we cannot imagine or fathom. God cannot give back what you do not give up! I believe Lisa and Sally’s story is one of giving up “possessions” (time, family, income) in order to accumulate “experiences” that demonstrate God’s provision, power and sovereignty.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” ~ Jim Elliot
Matthew 10:38-39, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Deuteronomy 30:20, “and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him…”