Nathan, Rada, Anya & Aleksa's move to Munich...

Tag: faith

Rhine or Danube?

The Rhine/Danube Watershed Marker

The snow that falls on the left of this sign will, when it melts, eventually make its way into the Rhine and out into the North Sea.  The snow on the right of this sign will, when it melts, eventually make its way into the Danube and out into the Black Sea, and maybe even get to the Mediterranean. 

Each flake of snow was powerless as it fell from the sky and is no less powerless as it sits waiting to melt and then to make its way back to an ocean somewhere.  Is the same true for us?  Do we have a destiny that we are powerless to affect?

I do not believe so!

I do believe that:

  • God loves us and knows everything that has happened and will happen.
  • God gives us freewill to make our own choices
  • God sometimes chooses to intervene
  • All of this is a complicated mix of paradoxes and mystery

We are not snowflakes that have no control of our actions or future yet there is a real sense, as we look back at certain moments in our life, that there is something guiding our actions and decisions, I really believe it is the Holy Spirit. I sometimes wonder about this when I think about how we ended up in Munich but it is so helpful to remember that God’s hand was visible in so many moments:

  • The years of influence from family, friends and leaders that inspired our hearts to grow with international mission at the core
  • The key conversation at a random conference in October 2015
  • The wisdom of leaders who counselled us and advised us
  • A phone call with a friend whose wife worked in a Munich grammar school that had an integration course for Anya
  • The generosity of many friends and churches that enabled us to cover the moving and living costs
  • The openness of our current landlord who gave us a chance to live in Munich when so many others had turned us down
  • The jobs that opened up at the right times to enable us to survive financially and contribute to society here

Maybe if things had turned out slightly different we could have flowed down to the Black Sea instead of stopping in Bavaria (true story!) but what we are certain of is that God has loved and guided us while allowing us the free will to make our own choices, experience our own mistakes and enjoy the successes.

Faith

 A post on faith from Rada…

I love books! I’m not quite sure where this love of reading came from but I remember devouring the writings of most famous Yugoslav writers.  After that I discovered Russian authors and that was the point that sealed my love for reading. Dostoyevsky remains my most favourite writer of all time.  Apart from the amazing descriptions and deep understanding of historical realities, his ability to capture the psychological make up of the human race is staggering.  It was from Dostoyevsky that I first understood the complexity of human nature as I was trying to analyse and identify with some of his characters.  I found this to be an exhilarating and deeply troubling process.  Not that I knew it then but the verses from Psalm 14 picture the state of humanity Dostoyevsky wrote about:

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.  They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

But it is enough to read about Alyosha Karamazov, his search for God and finally his enlightenment, to realise that there is hope.  I found this hope one sunny day in a park while my friend passionately introduced me to the one who lived, was dead and is now alive, Jesus Christ. Hungry to find out more about this love, I read the Bible a lot which served me as a manual for life, provided great historical narratives, captured my heart by beautiful poetry and tickled my imaginations about the world to come with its apocalyptic writings.

 

 

Moving to England and learning English was so exciting not least for opening up the whole world of Christian literature (a word of caution here; there are lots of weird and not so wonderful things out there, so if you’re just starting out, ask for advice). I lost the count of the books I read but I always remember details from the biographies of Christians who sacrificed everything they had to follow Jesus and serve him.  They are so inspirational, awe worthy and challenging. I have never read one and was left feeling that I’ve got it sorted or that my relationship with God is something to be taken lightly or that it doesn’t really matter how I live my life.

George Müller

Apologies for such a long winded introduction to what I really wanted to talk about, and that’s two books I reread again recently, the biographies of great heroes of faith Hudson Taylor and George Müller. I guess these two are particularly close to my heart because they both were foreigners in the countries where they were serving, and since I’m a foreigner in every country I set my foot in (now including my birth country) you see the appeal.  Apart from these two things, serving God and being foreigners, any similarity between the two men and me ceases to exist, to my dismay.  Taylor and Müller’s ability to present the gospel clearly AND passionately with humility and empathy is a thing to behold! Their love for the poor was all consuming.  Their close fellowships with the friends, co-workers and spouses is breathtaking and something to aspire to.  The number of virtues and gifting of these men is too long to even list.

Hudson Taylor

But there is one gift they excelled in that I absolutely love and eagerly desire and that’s the gift of faith.  What else one can dream of but to be able to completely and utterly rely on God for absolutely everything, from the clothes on your back and your daily bread to being satisfied if you lack them, for the health of your family to being able to commend them to the Lord if they are to die, from the workers you need for the task before you to the promise that God will build his church and lastly from the hardship of this life to the hope that one day every tear will be wiped off, every sickness healed and every broken heart mended.  These two men don’t have to strive anymore, they ran a good race and finished it well. My hope is that although I’m a slow learner, by the grace of God I’m getting better at this and one day I’ll master it, although not on this side of eternity. I’m looking forward to meeting Taylor and Müller one day and sharing funny stories about our lives as foreigners. But before that I might even write a blog about it.

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