Saturday, December 10, 2011

40 Days

The plane tickets are purchased! On the morning of March 11, we will be flying from Houston to Beijing. On my birthday, March 13, we should arrive in our new apartment in northeast China. Of course, there’s still a lot to do in the next few months. For one, our house hasn’t sold yet. It may seem surprising, even crazy, that we have already purchased plane tickets, but we are trusting God’s provision and timing.

Also, in terms of timing, my last day as a hospice chaplain will be December 31. From a human perspective, this does not make sense either. Being a chaplain with Texas Home Health Hospice has been a wonderful job, allowing so many ministry opportunities, and it has allowed us to take care of our financial needs since I started in 2007.

But a few weeks ago, when I was reflecting on a passage in the book of Matthew, the words “40 days” and “preparation” really stood out to me. I asked the Lord what this meant for us, and immediately, the thoughts that were given to me were: ‘You need to resign in 40 days.’ Really?

Later that day, I asked a coworker, “What’s 40 days from now?” She looked at me and said, “Why? Will that be your last day?” In surprise, I said, “I don’t know. Maybe.” 40 days were the remaining days of 2011. When I mentioned this to Dayna that night, she said, “Let’s pray about this some more.”

I agreed. I didn’t want us to do anything foolish. If God was behind the thought of 40 days, he would confirm it. So we continued to pray. Every time I read Scripture, God confirmed it with words of trust and faith and obedience. Every time I simply thought about it in my own perspective, the resignation seemed ridiculous. I would say things like: “But God, we’re able to do so much good ministry right now, right here in Texas. Besides, I could at least work another month or two.” And each time I would debate with God, he would remind me of passages like Acts 8 when God sent Philip away from Samaria (which was in the midst of revival) so that the Good News could impact another country.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Dayna and I were in agreement. We felt God’s peace for me to turn in my resignation for December 31, 2011. China, here we come.