Taking the Land for Mercy

We landed in Caracas, Venezuela—the first of many advances in South America. The soil was rich for digging, and God’s merciful ones received us with open arms. Still we faced numerous obstacles to releasing Living Waters there.

Suitcases never arrived; flights were cancelled, and the buses we took instead landed us in the wrong destinations. During our first training, in the jungle above Caracas, I stretched my bed-sheets tight across my frame to prevent the small unidentified creatures scurrying across the floor from scurrying onto me!

These challenges revealed how easily deterred we were from doing our job when facing any number of road bumps. We had to get tougher. When the majority of the team got ill from the food, we had to press through. We had a training to do!

No one was spared from the privilege at hand—equipping the saints to release their fellow strugglers with God’s mercy.

During one conference, I stayed in the home of the host. Next store to his house was a corner vacant lot that was the home of a dozen wild dogs. My host promised me that just around that corner was a road that opened up to a beautiful wilderness and view of the city below.

As a runner, I wanted badly to explore the territory. But the dogs frightened me. Just my walking in and out of the host’s home provoked their fearsome growls. I either had to run through my fear or play it safe inside.

I wanted the beauty of the land! In fear and trembling, I suited up and ran around that corner. Fast. The pack chased me; I felt their breath on my legs. I ran faster, and they eventually gave up. On the way back, I found a stick. I did not intend to hit them but only to show them that I was not scared, and had no intention of altering my plans for them. (The ‘dog whisperer’ I am not…)

I asserted myself; I claimed my right to be there, with a growl and a flick of my ‘sword.’ They barked less and less each time I ran by them. I claimed that land as my own. I endured the threat of attack for advancing into the land.

And what a land—lush foliage, fruit resting upon polished green leaves, a diversity of trees and tropical plants and flowers that invited me deeper into the fragrant wilderness.

God gave us the land that He loved: a people who loved Jesus with their whole hearts and who were ready to go the distance—bearing with one another in love for mercy’s sake.

God changed me through these minor challenges. He was helping me to trust Him, to press through my fears. Beauty awaited me.

‘As You have shown us mercy, O God, in the desert places of our lives, would You show mercy to the beleaguered state of marriage in the USA? As the Perry vs. Schw. case wends its way to the National Supreme Court, prepare for Yourself a victory. We shall render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but we shall prayerfully fight for what is Yours, O God. Prepare the hearts of each justice, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy, to uphold marriage according to Your merciful design. Remember mercy, O God.’

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