Archive for August, 2007
However, after the series of meetings (as the messages had sunk deep into my spirit, prompting me to search and examine my heart’s desires), I experienced some spiritual conflict resulting from certain doctrinal views that I no longer hold in a place of great importance. Views, that still hold strong in the minds of fellow believers over there. This isn’t really surprising, because the majority of the population
seems to abstain from any outward expressions of faith, it’s quite
unpopular (compared to an American tradition of attending church
every Sunday). Only those who are serious about their faith attend
church, and there is a very clear distinction, when it comes to a believer vs. unbeliever (it’s almost like black and white)…
It’s probably not unusual that people who have throughout the history been oppressed, seem to retain some amount of oppression in a spiritual sense as well. I don’t mean to judge spiritual poverty or speak of such in a "disqualifying" way (tendencies toward low self image, feelings of unworthiness) since the Bible does teach us that "blessed are the poor in spirit." Most certainly, it is a great benefit for a believer to confess sins and hear them testified forgiven by brothers and sisters of the same faith. This is emphasized as one of the main requirements, in order to receive God’s grace. Repentance and confession, the holy sacraments, restraining oneself from what is considered worldliness (including internet, tv and different styles of music), plain outward appearances, etc. are held in high regard.
OK, I cannot fit into such tightly guarded mold any longer- and yes, I do have some issues with the authority exercised by the church elders… Such issues I battled with Sunday night, and in the spirit called to my little group of believers (this was around 3 am at night, as they’d be gathering for the "U.S. time" 7pm worship in Upper Room). On Monday morning, to my amusement, my best childhood friend called me from Sweden, saying: "What kind of a mess have you got yourself into now? You had me up all night, troubled and praying for you, and I don’t even believe that God exists!" Pretty interesting, eh? My friend used to say, "I might as well believe in a chair" as she would refer about faith.
I suppose my pleas went to a wrong address! Didn’t quite make it over the Atlantic! On the more serious note, this was important enough for me to call the missionary preacher I had listened to. I was traveling south to attend some more meetings in a city near the Russian border the following weekend, so (as I would stop in his town) the preacher agreed to meet me at his home to discuss those issues.
It turned out good! We had a great discussion. I suppose the preacher quickly realized that I wasn’t there for the typical sob-session, to confess the sins and to receive a testimony of forgiveness. I did not want to pretend, only to share what was on my heart! He listened, gave me some very sound advice and in the end, said something that meant a great deal to me… That one day, we’d meet in heaven.
Daddy, make sure I get to meet this precious brother when I get there!!! WOW, awesome meeting!
I was glad to spend a day with my friend and neighbor whom I got to know five years ago during our 7-month stay in Finland. Her children had grown -so- also in the spirit! It was a great joy seeing you Tuula! I’ll miss you, miss the girls (hope my kids will get to see yours before they all grow up!) God bless you and family!
I visited two more aunts, one uncle and his family, along with several cousins during the rest of my stay. The last Sunday meeting in the Lappeenranta house of prayer was so strong and anointed, that I did break down and walk to the altar (not pretending, actually sobbing!) and received such a refreshing flow of grace from the throne of God, that I remained on cloud nine for the rest of the day. But, more importantly, I was convinced about the genuiness and preciousness of this faith, and how good it is to those who are nurtured within… And how we all belong to the body of Christ, despite the silly differences and walls of separation…
After the meetings, my cousin and I took a train back to Helsinki, sharing about our faith in God all the way back, probably giving an earful to some who weren’t used to hearing such on long train rides! Praise God! I had hoped to visit brother M. once more in Helsinki, to wish him farewell and God’s blessings, but the time and the heavy luggage didn’t allow… Sigh… God be with you till we meet again! This also for every other friend, relative, neighbor etc. I was priviledged to meet. Love you all…
Back in Florida, after driving to West Palm to pick up my wayward luggage (it had gone to Las Vegas, I ended up changing my flight to Orlando instead of PBI due to delays) I received a call to go to a job interview, immediately! And so I did, and the following day received a call informing me that I got the job in the social field! Praise God! Brother L. had been on his knees asking for this to happen… Hey mister, have I got "no say" in all this ?!? All right, daddy, I guess I’ll just have to go with the flow!
Just like the Finland trip, this one kind of fell into my lap, too…
The more I let go and let God, the easier the puzzle pieces seem to lock together, almost effortless from my part! Things, carefully planned and organized by me, way ahead, have given way to almost reckless abandonment!!! In a way, it’s exhilarating and liberating, yet I wonder just what might be coming my way.
Are You placing me in the middle of the war zone Lord? Have I acquired enough skill to handle the distress and hardships I might face? I’m not "learned" like those with high degrees, well trained for social work… Yet You’re placing me in a position where I will be sharing people’s hurts, trying to help and encourage them through difficult situations, caring and counseling. Will my heart’s compassion and love be enough to cover that which I’m lacking?
I’ve always had a one-track mind, giving my 100 % to what I’m presently involved in. Lord- I’m afraid I will end up neglecting my loved ones, as I give my heart to the hurting. Sure, I can harden my heart and avoid getting personally involved, but I don’t like doing that, it would be like acting against my own nature… Or rather, against the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Matt 19: 29,30 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Maybe I’m just full of it (I mean "self-righteous" crap), eh…? Maybe my priorities are a bit screwed up… How does one find the right balance between these two, life’s calling and family? That’s what I’m wondering at the moment…
Well, since I’m not sure of anything right now, I’ll just have to let go and let God…