And now, Sally’s lesson. Let her do the sharing:
The Scripture Psalm 139:16 (“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.“) became clear to me as we stepped into the compound built for this “General Bush Conference.” This was Saturday afternoon (the conference would begin that night); several thousands of Africans had assembled for a few minutes of greetings for all of us on the team. A lovely welcome of singing and clapping came forth from them for these six Americans who had come so very far. [We each had] a chance. . .to say briefly, “We are the group that the Lord has sent, but we represent many thousands who could not come but who send you their love and are committed to pray for all of us while we are here together.”
The moment I stepped inside the arena, I was overwhelmed with the love of God! I had to catch my breath as I became aware of the wonder of God’s plan reaching back over a long span of my life. Although our plans in preparation for this day extended back through only a few months, I sensed that this had been a lovely, fixed part of God’s plan always. This became more clear to me as God gently reminded me of the many times in my life with Him when I would sense a strong move of God, drawing me ever nearer to His desires to have me yield my life completely, trustingly to His plans and purposes. And how, as I would begin to yield, the enemy would seem to say to me, “If you really turn loose and yield completely, God will call you to Africa to be a missionary.”
It wasn’t the thought of Africa, so far away. . . . Nor was it the thought of being a missionary; that would have been a great honor for me. It was something else. This never occurred when I could see [me] being able to extricate myself from the mountains of plans, goals, and details in which I was already involved. I had my life plans set, so I would go no [further], still withholding from God the right to set the plans. It was this way from the beginning, but God has always been gradually eating away at my resistances.
There came a time when there were great needs for God Jay’s life and mine – so great that I reached out to God, and the enemy would use the same words to cause me to drawback. “. . . missionary to Africa.” But gradually, my resistances became no longer valid nor worthwhile. I only knew that Jay and I needed (desperately needed) God, both for physical healing as well as the emotional adjustments in all the ways God’s love and presence touches us to the depths. So my response was, “O God, I need you so much I will simply trust you with all the details of YOUR plan. I really don’t care where you send me.”
Now, all these years later, here we were in Africa, and my heart was overflowing with God’s love for all these who had come to greet us. Going to Africa had not been MY idea; it was Jay’s call, and I was [t]here because he was. . . .At this moment, God’s overflowing love assured me, this was truly God’s plan. And as we trust Him with the details He will repeatedly assure us that He DID know every day of our life before we lived out one of them.
And so, as we walked down that long pathway through the great mass of people, the tears flowed down my cheeks. And I remembered how, at the time when I handed all that responsibility over to the Lord, He baptized me with his Holy Spirit and began a new depth of guidance, direction, and healing in our lives. And so all my fears and concerns about Africa had melted away as I had put my total trust in God my Lord.
We learned many other lessons which we are not now aware of, but our lives will never be the same! But isn’t that what the Lord desires to happen to all of us on all occasions? When the Spirit is working and the Word is spoken, we have to become different – peculiar – people.
-Jay & Sally Fesperman
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 39, June 1984.