This is Part Five of a blog series. You can read the previous parts by clicking below:
So, with that, the Lord filled me up with faith to take the leap (well, flight, actually) back to Brazil. This time we felt it was the point of no return, for we were officially giving up all our “rights” on the beautiful church house that we had called home for the past five and a half years. We no longer had any furniture, nor vehicle, nor job. We did have some boxes in storage, but that was the extent of our worldly goods.
About one month after arriving back in Brazil, we were able to rent our own home. Up until then, we had all been staying in a cramped, drafty and leaky room in the top floor of the church we were serving, so having our own place was wonderful. (Pics and blog about that time period here.) The problem was that we had virtually nothing to furnish it with, so the beginning was quite primitive. We had no car, so getting places was always tricky, especially with four little ones which made public transportation and bicycling both less than attractive options. And we couldn't get too far walking with all of our troop in tow. However, we actually saw all of this as an adventure, and had fun with it. Doing basic things was a constant challenge, but for the most part, it didn't get me down too much. And, little by little, from used furniture stores and donation bags, we began to acquire basic household goods and our life became a bit more “doable”. A bit more comfortable.
And can you believe it? THIS was the point in which I felt my heart waver! I think this is really where the rubber hit the road. You see, the first year or so was what could be compared to a honeymoon phase. There were plenty of challenges, but we were still kind of on a high... it was an adventure! Fun! Exciting! New experiences and surprises all the time! And then came the inevitable valley after the “high”. Suddenly it wasn't so exciting any more, and the hard parts seemed to get magnified. Being away from family and dear ones seemed almost unbearable at times. And even though we were doing a lot of great things, we didn't always see the fruit we would've liked... which would have made the sacrifices seem more worth it. Finances were a constant struggle, and we had some pretty major difficulties with interpersonal relations which I can't get into here, but all of these things started to wear me down.
All along our journey to Brazil, the Lord had continually spoken to us through the story of Abraham. And now, once again, He used Abraham to correct my worthless heart.
“... By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God....
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them...” (Hebrews 11)
Could I believe it? Could I really stand living “in tents” all my life, in a makeshift, temporary fashion? Was this the kind of inheritance I wanted for my children, just as it says that Isaac and Jacob inherited from Abraham, being “heirs together with him of the promise”? Did I really want to be a stranger and pilgrim on earth? And this is the part that really got me, “...truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them...” Did I really desire to live with eternity ever before me, as a reality that I was constantly hoping for and dreaming of? Even though the Bible says this life is but a vapor, and eternity is, well, eternal... forever and ever and ever... still it is so hard for us finite beings to actually LIVE like it! Was I merely dreaming of that country from which we had come out? Most of the time, yes. Sadly, yes. But oh, I did desire to have that desire of a heavenly country! I began to pray that God would work in me, both to will and do live out His desires. (See Phil 1:6)And, yes, THIS was the kind of legacy that I wanted my children to inherit! I can't think of a single thing that could be a richer inheritance.
TO BE CONTINUED....
CLICK HERE to go on to Part Six