This year, I (Jody) am soaking in the Psalms, aided by Tim Keller’s devotional The Songs of Jesus (Viking, 2015). Sometimes, reading in the book of Psalms feels so familiar and ordinary that I find myself easily skimming over the verses with an “I know this already” perspective. Not this year. Day after day, I instead find myself surprised and delighted by the combination of fresh insight and comfortable familiarity. I am realizing that buying this devotional was no incidental snap decision, but a demonstration of God knowing what I needed long before I did, and of the Spirit guiding me even in the click of an “add to cart” button.
So, what does any of this – this devotional, this blog, this upcoming venture in Nairobi – have to do with war? Well, the reading for February 3rd is from Psalm 20. In most Bibles, you will often see a subtitle or heading indicating the topic or setting of a particular Psalm. Here, I see “Trust in the Name of the Lord our God.” And in Keller’s introduction to Psalm 20, he says: “BEFORE A BATTLE. How do you get ready for some great challenge?” What would spring to my mind but this “whole Kenya thing?!” (as one of our children put it the other day). It is a great challenge indeed.
Most likely, you arrived at this site because you received a packet of introduction and information from us and from Christian Reformed World Missions. Guess what – now you know pretty much what we know! There are so many details that we just do not have at this point, and sometimes, if I sit and consider them, they are overwhelming. God moved quickly to open the doors for Ryan’s opportunity to teach at Bridgeworld College. In just a couple of weeks, we went from Ryan considering a trip there to teach a 2-3 week summer-intensive type of course to our whole family being invited to come as he serves as guest lecturer for an entire semester – which is about 4 months! Suddenly we had a box of very official-looking letters and brochures on our kitchen table, a page on the CRWM website, mail confirming Ryan’s official appointment, and a to-do list seeming to grow by the second!
Of course it is not a physical war that we are preparing for (although it felt a little like it to us, and to Saeryn, when we were trying to convince her to sit for her passport photo on Monday!) It’s a war against doubt, a war against worry, a war to keep our trust and hope in the right place – namely, in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). This “whole Kenya thing” is His doing, and He will accomplish it. We are thankful to be along for the ride, as it were, and seek to trust Him for all of the details and all of the preparations and provisions as we diligently work on that to-do list in obedience to His call. We are also thankful to have had many encouraging words spoken to us by friends and family already!
As you pray for our family, feel free to join me in the prayer that Tim Keller begins for us as we absorb and echo Psalm 20 today:
“Lord, I am so anxious because I look to human wisdom, talent, and resources. They can let me down, but you cannot! Even if things don’t go as I wish, if they are in your hands I am safe. And I know you will hear my prayer because you always hear my Savior’s prayers. Amen.”
posted by Jody.