Archive for January, 2012

The End of the Climb–Honduras, Day 11

“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD. ” Psalm 107:43

I’m nearing the end of our crisis of question journey. At times, it was rough, and like climbing the mountains in Honduras, I had to stop and rest every once in a while. I really think that is what it was, a climb. Not a fall.

I’d asked the Lord to increase my faith and learn to trust Him more. I also told Him that I desired to see His face. I believe that is what this crisis of question was/is about. Learning more about my Lord.

Let me do a quick review of my journey.

First, I travel to Central America with SOS missions after a flu-like illness. I twist my ankle and ask God to help me so I can travel to remote villages with the team. Next, I visit the villages and am devastated. I wonder if God is cruel. If He is unkind or unloving, or even if He is really there.

Then, I had what I’ve dubbed, “A Mission’s Meltdown,” and am almost unable to participate with the team. After that, I ask the Lord to help me understand, since I know that I am one of His children. And He does. He begins to show me through Scripture, other believers, writings, my quiet time, sermons, what He is like and how to understand Him. I really can’t explain that to you. But if you are a believer, you know what I mean.

He’s teaching me. He’s nurturing me. I feel as if I could climb into His lap to answer my silly questions. He doesn’t treat them as silliness, because He knows my questioning heart. He made me that way.

So what have I learned? I’ve learned that it all comes back to the cross.

It’s difficult to explain, but let me take you back to a scene in Honduras. We were at one of the villages that had a large field. Many of the younger members of the team played soccer with the children and even some local men joined them. At the end of our time there, several men gathered around our translator, Diego, and Rob Ozburn–an X Apache helicopter pilot.

Rob passionately shared the plan of salvation. Namely, that Jesus came to earth, clothed in our skin and lived among us to be a perfect substitute for our sins. Because He was, God accepted His righteousness as ours.

Really, it’s simple to understand.

I began to really think what that meant. Jesus saw disease, hunger, injustice, violence, greed, lust, and anything else that you could imagine. And He cared.

He didn’t just care like I care. The care that I have for people involves a gut wrenching feeling, but there is no sacrifice on my part. Not much, anyway. I visit, then I leave. I may give money. I think back to my time there, and I pray.

But Jesus actually lived it. He practiced what He preached. He gave all. Since He was deity, it was exponentially more than I could understand or imagine. He came for our redemption, yes. But He also gave us a crystal-clear picture of God. He is God.

I not only love Jesus, I like Jesus.

Rob shared with these men in a soccer field in the middle of the rain forest the cross of Jesus Christ. It’s a picture I’ll never forget. The men were mesmerized. Then it hit me.

The cross gives hope. The gospel brings redemption. Not only to people in faraway lands, but to American teenagers in five-bedroom homes. To rice workers in communist China, and to business owners in Germany.

The gospel gives hope to me. It gives hope to you in whatever your circumstance because it supersedes circumstances.

I got a glimpse of it that day in Honduras, but it’s taken several weeks to take form in my mind.

I still don’t understand a lot of what I saw, but I know Jesus.

Maybe you’re struggling with the same issues. My life is relatively easy, your life may be much harder. Take heart. Jesus cares. Jesus understands.

And then there’s always heaven.

That’s why I put the verse at the top about how the wise Psalmist looked back on God’s faithfulness in the past. Take a clue from him.

If you’re not sure, keep asking. He’s listening. He cares.

And keep climbing.





God is Unfathomable, Honduras Day 10

In Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” he describes our intellect and our understanding as the size of a soda can that sits in the ocean while God’s infinite wisdom, personality, whatever else you’d like to throw in there is the ocean. For us as humans to think that God has to fit into our little soda can of understanding is well, soda stupid.

This idea Chan proposes comes from the first chapter. I can’t quote it since I’m listening to it on my computer. So understand that the above is a loose paraphrase. But the book is definitely worth a read.

So what does this have to do with Honduras. For me to question God has been allowed by Him. He is even answering me in ways that my soda brain can understand. But He doesn’t owe me anything.

He is not constrained by anything and He knows everything. Yet, like I said yesterday, He is involved in the details of our lives.


Recently, I was on the phone with my daughter and she began with, “I can’t believe how big God is…” I finished, “And how little He is.”

How He could be so grand, yet be involved in the intricacies of our lives. I don’t know about you, but my soda-sized brain is overflowing.

I have an idea. Take a walk on a beach somewhere. If you’re not near one, look at the night sky.

Tomorrow, I’m going to begin to wrap it up. Good night, friend. Thanks for taking this Crisis of Question journey with me.

God is Faithful, Honduras Day 9

God spoke to me again this morning. I grieved and didn’t know why. Oh, sure things aren’t perfect in my home, but nobody has a perfect life.

No, it was deeper than that.

I went to my prayer closet. I bent over, almost prostrate. “I’m calling out to you, again, Lord. I’ve struggled with my faith, you’ve shown me your goodness. Help me to know why I am struggling so!”

I turned to my devotional book titled, “Face to Face,” by Kenneth Boa. In today’s reading, I read the familiar words that state our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph. 6.

How do you figure that? How did God know that on that particular day, at that time, that Scripture would be there?

Because He is God. Because He is faithful.

Imagine this. God is in heaven. He made sure that passage was there for me today. But there are millions of believers all over the world that have multi-faceted situations that they face and they are crying out for help. And He answers them.

If they’re asking… If they’re listening…

Did you ever wonder if God had a “To Do” list? It would be pretty long.

Another way God has been faithful to show me answers to my questions is through other believers. A friend of mine called today to ask me to sing with her. Normally, I would jump at the chance, but because of the struggles I’m going through, and the commitments I’ve made, I’m not sure.

She said, “Did you say something about speaking at a conference for women?”

I told her I’m scheduled to do a mini-conference in February.

“You need to get someone praying for you, Pauline. From my experience, you’re going to face spiritual warfare. If someone isn’t praying for you, you’ll get beat up!”

Oh really.

Another answer to my prayers was written by A. Wetherell Johnson several years ago in her autobiography. I’ve been reading it, and I recommend it. She described her thoughts when she served in China as she observed the poor, diseased, and oppressed. Then she said these words, “All through my years in China, I never got over these depressing sights. However, He who preached the gospel to the poor walked among crowds such as these. He was always filled with compassion as He walked in their midst, and He did something about their suffering.”

He was faithful to show me that passage, and He was faithful to serve on this earth. And He did something about their suffering! Who am I to think that God doesn’t care about suffering? He sent Jesus.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you from Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love.”

Here’s my point: If you are suffering, if you have questions, if you are doubting, if you are struggling, You are on God’s “To Do” list. And unlike us, He always gets his done.


God is Good

God’s been talking to me. Sometimes, almost screaming at me, others times I can hardly hear Him. But I know it’s Him. He’s speaking because I asked Him a bunch of questions. And I’m listening. I have no choice.

Remember John 6: 66-71? Jesus kept referring to Himself as the Bread of Life. He told the crowd that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. His popularity plummeted. He turns to the twelve and asks if they are going to leave, too. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

I had no choice because there is nowhere else to go. Jesus has the words of eternal life. I know that.

So how has God been speaking to me? Mostly through His Word. When asking God how He could create people who seem to have no hope of a “safe” “fulfilling” “comfortable” life, He’s shown truths about Himself.

First, He’s shown me that He is God, and that He is good. In fact, He is the measuring stick of good since He is God. These are some verses I’ve come across in my daily devotional, “Face to Face,” by Kenneth Boa.

“Oh give thanks to the LORD for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 107:1.

“Oh taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man that takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34: 8

“How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You before the sons of men!”

That’s all for today. I’ll continue with how He is speaking to me. I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with the BSF founder and Francis Chan. Plus my daily Bible readings.

It’s comforting to know that God says He is good.

His Point of View is the one that counts.






Monday, Day 7 Honduras Posts

It was our last full day in Honduras. Many gathered together in the sanctuary (of sorts) to organize the leftover gifts and pack for our last trip to a village named Estuman.

There were voodoo influences there. A man who claimed Christ had mysteriously died of poisoning, leaving his pregnant wife and four young children.

I felt better, but wasn’t looking forward to it. My heart was too raw.

This time, we were driven to the village where we met at Dominga’s house. She was the woman who’s husband had died. A few months ago, a group had travelled to her village and built her a cement block home of about 800 square feet. It was the nicest home in the village. There were no decorations, just cinderblock interior with a main room and two smaller rooms.

We set our stuff there and walked through the village, inviting people to our Christmas celebration. It was the same scenario; good-looking chickens and roosters, half-dressed children, shy women. Several men who resembled Juan Valdez–some complete with a donkey. There was the smell of smoke and fresh tortillas and the site of mangy dogs. There were pieces of garbage strewn about against the backdrop of glorious mountains covered with corn and beans.

This time, during the celebration, I participated. First, I painted fingernails. I didn’t have my glasses, so my aim was off. So much so, that a shy teenager who picked a pale yellow color for one hand, switched to a clear color with sparkles for her other hand. I stunk at nail art.

Next, I helped Crystal and Danielle with balloon figures. I didn’t actually make the figures, my job was to blow up the balloons for the others to create cute animals. Trouble was, I couldn’t blow them up fast enough. There were droves of children waiting expectantly for a balloon miracle, and I was holding up the show. I got fired from that, too.

Then I received “Bubble Duty.” My job was to spread bubbles everywhere in order to help gather a crowd and entertain the children. I don’t think I was that good at it, but it was a delight. Big sisters brought little brothers to me. I blew all kinds of bubbles. Some huge, some that just emerged as bubble spit. No matter what, it made them smile. Then it was their turn. I held the bubble wand and they blew. I wouldn’t trade the look on their faces for anything. Pure delight. Simple joy.

God created those children.

And that was good.

Later, we met around a man named Theodoro’s mud and stick hut. Previously, he had decided to make a pact with Satan and kill Mike Schadt. When he attempted to do that, he realized that God was stronger. He repented of his sin and turned to Christ.

He’s in training to be an elder. Joy streamed from his face.

We met at his house.

The chairs were placed on either side facing the mountains. Each chair was filled, so that some stood and others sat on the bare ground. Nursing mothers held infants, men listened with rapt attention as members of our team looked on with joyful awe. The view of God’s creation, both people and mountains were breath-taking.

First, we worshipped. The never-ending Spanish song, led by a smiling woman almost broke Rob Ozburn’s arm as he shook some sort of maracas to the beat. It certainly made him sweat. Next was the prayer. All prayed at once, most on their knees. A cacophony of praise.

I wondered if that is how it sounded to God when people all over the world raised their voices in praise and adoration. Amazing.

Mike Schadt spoke on the test of a believer. First, he described an unbeliever. He asked, “Are any of you involved in immorality?”

Someone raised their hand. It was behind me so I didn’t look, but I was sure curious. I wondered how that would go over in my home church.

Then Mike dealt with three different sin areas and asked specific Honduran elders if they were involved in them. It was a dramatic sight.

At the end of his message, he asked if there was someone who wanted to submit to Jesus as Lord of their lives. The man who’d raised his hand stepped forward.

It was our bus driver, Rene.

Truth began to seep into my brain. There was hopelessness, poverty, injustice, just as there always was and always would be. There was also the gospel. What Scripture describes as a treasure.

Remember how Mike spoke on the porch about how God took us out of our squalor, touched us and said, “Live.”

I knew then that ultimately, the answer to all of my questions revolved around the gospel. The cross of Jesus Christ.

Enough for today.