by Patricia Klein
“Unprecedented times.” “Pastors and Christian leaders are facing challenges like never before”. We often hear statements like this – even saying them ourselves. But when I recall hymns from my childhood, or read Paul’s writings, I’m assured that every generation faces severe testings. Does this sound current? “If you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”1
Even so, the next verse is key. A golden nugget. “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives”. 2
Jesus warned about dangerous times, but promised He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth.
Amongst helpful leadership books, New Year’s resolutions, our personal goals, may the fatherly words of Paul ring in our hearts, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.”
Huldah Buntain loved working with her husband, Mark, in India as God used him to open hospitals, schools, feeding centres, and churches. Then Mark’s life was taken while Huldah was traveling to visit family. Suddenly thousands of destitute people, and hundreds of employees, pastors and co-workers, wondered if everything would end.
In shock and grief at the airport, Huldah prayed, “God, what am I going to do? You have to help me get someone to lead the people. I don’t know what to do.” Then an audible voice spoke, “Just take it one day at a time.”3 As the story continues, multiple times when difficulties arose, when loneliness threatened to overcome, God spoke to her heart, “Just take it one day at a time.” The funds came in, workers surfaced, the work expanded, and God was glorified over and over again.
Lynda P and her husband were praying about a project to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. A Mom, Grandmother, and Foster Mom, she knew, “I can rock babies”. Lynda loved to care for babies, and was convinced that babies NEED cuddling, stimulation, and love. They decided to look for an orphanage in a poorer country where they could go and spend their days “rocking babies”.
It was extremely difficult to arrange. Their first experiences in Ukraine were terrifying. They were stopped by angry policemen on the roadway, chased by gang thugs in the train station. Exhausted, traumatized, Lynda could barely put one foot in front of another as they faced that first day in the orphanage, with a staff who could not understand why they were there.
But God had a plan. Though challenges continued, when she stopped to listen: “You are AWESOME in this place, Mighty God!” was singing in her heart.
Some results? The orphanage, and others, opened to visitors. Adoption – a foreign concept to Ukrainians – became acceptable, and most of the little ones they’d worked with on that first trip, were taken into forever homes. Lynda and her husband knew more deeply than ever the greatness of the Lord.
My life experience may be similar to yours. Each stage has prepared me for this present assignment. I look back in wonder at “coincidences”, protection during danger, “perfect timing”.
Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Esther, Mary and Joseph, Philip, Ananias, Huldah, Lynda, me, you … .
The good shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4
“Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives”.