On Friday evening August 2, in Istanbul, Turkey, Missionary Stan Steward passed on to an eternity with Jesus! I had never met Stan or his family, but through a series of web-streamed meetings in Orlando, FL, I had the opportunity to hear Stan’s story. Let me pause to suggest that you pick up a copy of “Dying Out Loud” by Shawn Smucker (http://www.amazon.com/Dying-Out-Loud-Guilt-Death/dp/1937830969).
His story struck my heart. More than struck it, ruined it. Let me give you another moment of honesty. I like to question and complain. Stan had something to question and to complain about, yet he chose to keep his faith intact, his trust deeply rooted, and his family as close as ever. He chose to live out his final days with terminal cancer.
In the days before his diagnosis, his family had gathered to pray. They had been in Turkey for eight years without one person coming to Jesus, saying “Lord, whatever it takes, pour us out Lord!” God spoke to Stan’s wife saying, “If you remain in Me, you will make it through this!” What a prayer… What a response…
Another moment of transparency: I need to pray that prayer––AGAIN! I actually feel the biggest need to repent. To repent for letting so many things rob the passion of “Whatever…Lord!”
- What has become so important that you do not spend time with God?
- What attitude has robbed you of staying whole surrendered to God?
- What action has wrapped itself around you, stealing your momentum towards God’s will?
- What thought has arrested you through doubt and fear?
Four is not a magic number; these are the ones that I wrestle with. You may or may not have them. Maybe you have more––or less.
I am reminded of the woman with the issue of blood. She said whatever Lord! I will get down on my hands and knees, crawl through the crowd, and just touch the hem of your garment. Found in three of the four gospels in the New Testament (Matt. 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, and Luke 8:42b-48), we see in living color a person that said “Whatever…Lord!”
I want to encourage you to pray the prayer, “Whatever it takes Lord!” Repent of the things that have stopped that prayer.
Lastly, Jesus said “Go!” Now it is time to GO! Go to the place that God has called you to. Go in peace as you find the passion of God for your life. Go to the people that God has laid on your heart to love, to pray for, and to serve!
“Whatever…Lord!” Hard prayer, hard life, but as Stan Steward said before he left the world…
“There’s a difference in living a good life and living the life God called for you!”
Whatever it takes Lord! It will be worth it!