Sunday, November 30, 2008

Game Plan

All football teams have a game plan for their opponent. However, it is usually the ones that are most capable of taking the circumstances they face and altering their game plan that come out winners. I am a planner, and I definitely have a game plan. Unfortunately one of the most difficult things for me is to realize that I’m not always in control, especially when it comes to the will of God. Brennan Manning says that “…abandonment consists in seeing the will of God in all the people, events and circumstances present to you. If God tears up your beautiful game plan and leads you into a valley instead of onto a mountaintop, it is because He wants you to discover His plan, which is more beautiful than anything you or I could have dreamed up. The response of trust is ‘Thank You, Jesus,’ even if it is said through clenched teeth.”

One of my best friends in the entire world is a Romanian pastor by the name of Ovidiu. Pastor Ovidiu exemplifies what it means to allow God to be in control when it comes to making a “game plan” for his life. Yesterday I received the unfortunate news that Ovidiu was denied a U.S. Visa. Ovidiu has attempted a number of times to visit churches in the U.S. to share about his ministry. Each time he has been denied. However, instead of wallowing in self-pity, Ovidiu will continue to be about His “game plan.” And what an amazing “game plan” it is.

Ovidiu has served as pastor of a small Romania village by the name of Susani since graduating from seminary close to five years ago. Early in his career Ovidiu and his wife Adina decided to remain in Susani long-term in an effort to reach the youth and adults of this village and a number of surrounding villages. All too often these remote villages are forgotten by missionaries and local believers. Ovidiu is young, educated, and trustworthy, all of which are characteristics necessary to pastor a large church in Romania. However, Ovidiu and Adina feel God has called them to serve via the remote villages, not the large cities.

Through VBS, camps, weekly prayer meetings, and now short-term mission teams, Ovidiu and Adina are reaching hundreds of children these remote villages. And, by reaching these children, they are also paving the way for their parent’s salvation. Are there consequences to this decision? Absolutely. Are they greater than the consequences of not following His will? Absolutely not. John F. Kennedy observed, “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

As Kacee and I were toiling with the idea of moving to Romania a friend made this statement, “When God’s will is for something to happen, it is going to happen, with you or without you. If you are not willing to help make it happen, He will find someone that is willing. Those He is calling you to serve will not suffer due to your lack of commitment; however, you will!” Thank you, Ovidiu and Adina for your willingness to follow His “game plan” and teaching all of us to be receptive to His will for us. Hebrews 6:10 says, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Keep up the good work!

Aspire to new heights.

1 comment:

todd long said...

....and we get to spend Christmas with them!!