Natalie Grant "More than Anything"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Hazardous Faith

Sometimes our faith in Jesus leads us into deep waters.  He tells us to get into the water up to our waist, before he shows signs of parting the sea. This is my story of one of the "Hazardous" areas into which Christ has called me to follow him...There is a  link at the bottom where you can share your own story of hazardous faith. To celebrate the publication of their new book 
( Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s"Hazardous; Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus,) Ed is holding a Synchroblog where bloggers all join to share their own stories of Hazardous Faith.

Hard times.
Tough Decisions.
Well what about the tough decision to support a sister in her hard times?   Here's her story:

 " I had a nice life here in Davao City in the Philippines. My husband was the pastor of a church and I was the worship leader.  I loved nothing more than singing for the Lord and leading his people in worship.  I once sang backup for Don Moen a famous musician in his tour of SE Asia.  My life was wonderful compared to many--the unspeakably poor...the ones I saw daily holding out their hands for help.  Never did I imagine that my husband would suddenly leave our church, our marriage and our faith--to go to the arms of his homosexual lover....leaving me with three very young children...That same year I lost my parents to death and also watched my favorite, beloved sister die right before my eyes in an attack of asthma.

"Suddenly I was plunged into poverty....suddenly it was MY children holding out their hands for help.  I spent time on my computer, depressed, locked in the sadness of grief and anger that no one could share.  Anger at my husband....and yes, anger at God.  There was a site on line that I visited often.  Jango.  It was a station where you could design your own radio station and listen to music for free.  The music  there began to heal my wounded soul.  Then, on Jango I made two friends,  David and my sis, Cynthia.  I called her sis because she is my sister in the Lord---and because she reminds me of my sister who I lost.  I told my friends about my sadness.  And in time, they discovered also my need.  My children were starving---and so was I.  I worked hard to try to earn money:  long, long hours with little sleep and no food.  In my country when a man leaves a woman, it is considered by all to be the fault of the woman.   My children and I were called "useless" by others and  they would call us names as we passed by on the street.  Even my Christian "brothers and sisters" rejected me.

"But my Sis and my friend David told me it was not my fault and that it was wrong for my people to commit this sin against me.  Cynthia cried as I told her of these things.  And one day, she cried because of our hunger.  I don't remember exactly when , but she began to send us money via Western Union.....and with this I could buy food.  I was so ashamed to have to confess to her my need.   And even more ashamed to take her money.  If it had been just me, I would not have taken it; but I could not stand by and let my children die.  Life is still very hard....But we have had food--enough to keep us alive.  Recently my city was overcome in flash flooding....I saw the water rise like in the days of Noah...and heard screams as people were overcome and drowned.  

"My daughter is extremely smart and gifted.  She was chosen to attend a special school for gifted students.  And there she won a scholarship ...Cynthia has helped to buy her books and pay her bus fare to school....I am hoping that if she does well, then maybe we will not have to depend on Cynthia forever. 

That was my sister's hard time.
MY tough decision was to disregard every piece of advice I got in regard to my sweet sister....people warned me that the Philippines is rife with scams....Women trying to get American husbands...just to get into our country.  Women  trying to  prey upon the sympathies of others.  I was told that this could be an elaborate scam.  That my sister may have a hundred "sisters" like me contributing to her needs.  The website for Western Union specifically says 'Do not send money to people in countries whom you have not met personally.'

I struggled with all of this.

But I've seen many, many pictures of my friend's house over the years.  It's little more than a makeshift shack that she has made herself.  I've seen her needs.  I've seen her kids--seen them able to play in the school band in the parade when I bought them the uniforms; seen them in glee blow out the candles in the birthday cake I got them....seen her daughter getting awards and medals and scholarships for her hard work in school....My spirit tells me these are not scams but that my sister has allowed me the privilege of sharing her life with me as she has shared her needs with me. She has only recently been more comfortable telling me of her needs....previously I had to practically drag the words out of her.

Now I face a hard question.

I am up to my eyeballs in medical bills.  I've heard people say that  we have no "right " to give while we have debt.  If that were true no one would ever long as they had a mortgage or a car payment.  If I continue to share my income with  my sister....then I know that God will continue to meet my needs and hers as well.  He   has blessed me and I know that it is because I have been faithful to help my sister and her kids.

I look forward to the moment in heaven when my sister comes to wrap her arms around  me.  The moment that I get to hold her in my arms will be worth every bit of sacrifice.
I am not telling you this to impress you with my righteousness or my giving  I know that rather, I will most likely get criticized for it y some people.  And that is okay...I am at rest before my God knowing that I have done what he has called me to do.  And I know that on the other side of the world is a family who maybe would not be here now had God not called me to help them.  That - and the Lord's smile- are my reward.

:  - Go to this link to add your own story to the Synchroblog for the new book: Hazardous. (see yesterday's post for more explanation.)
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