We had a major medical emergency at our house yesterday morning.
It only came to my attention when I began fixing breakfast for the girls. Anytime I held something in my right hand, the most horrific shooting pains would make all of my fingers ache so badly that I had to stop using the hand altogether. Now, I’m no stranger to pain. I’m the same girl who delivered a baby without an epidural. After one hour and twelve minutes of labor. In a very hot Japanese hospital. While five other laboring mothers watched, along with a group of midwives, a whole class-full of nursing students, and probably everyone else in Okinawa. If that isn’t the very definition of pain (and humiliation), I don’t know what is!
But this today? This HURT. And I kept looking at my hand trying to figure out where the source of pain was as I got Ana ready for school, got Emma dressed, and fed the dog, all while using only my left hand. (A feat in and of itself.) Finally, when I got the opportunity to look at my right hand in the good light, I saw it. The tiniest little splinter EVER, right there in one of my fingers. How in the world was that tiny little thing making my whole hand hurt? How could something so little so radically affect the whole morning?
This is where we are. This is what Radical has been for us — just a small thing, a mere chapter a week, that has had some big repercussions in all the other areas of our lives. We’ve not arrived. We haven’t sold off everything we own. We haven’t booked one-way tickets to the far reaches of the world. We haven’t thrown a party at the thought of our potential deaths as martyrs.
But we’re looking at our lives differently than we did before. When we moved back to the US three years ago, we had no intention of falling into the pursuit of the American dream. God wasn’t calling us away from missions — God was calling us to a different mission field. There are days, though, where life here is more about our comfort, planning for our future, and enjoying what is, by the standards of poverty throughout the rest of the world, luxury. I don’t think our sin in falling into these traps nullifies God’s call for us here, to live how we’re living, but I think it has the potential to turn our hearts from following Him should He call us to something different. I think that’s been the most helpful part of this book to me — just the subtle reminder (that suddenly affects every purchase, decision, and thought I have!) that life is about more than stuff, about more than right this minute, and about more than me.
I thought the Radical Experiment was a good starting place for those of us who feel overwhelmed, which is probably ALL of us at this point. And the one year time frame? Certainly makes it more doable. Platt dares us to, over the next year…
1. Pray for the entire world
If you’re looking for a good resource for this, go here for daily prayer requests from the foreign mission field. More explanation is given for each of the people groups and missionaries so you won’t find yourself praying all-too-generically that God will “bless the missionaries and reach the people.” I think the more we learn about the people we’re praying for, the more God inclines our heart towards our brothers and sisters serving and perhaps (gasp!) inclines our heart towards joining them in the work God is doing there.
2. Read through the entire Word
I know this sounds daunting, but it IS possible! Wes and I started a plan to read through the Bible in 90 days back in September, and even though it’s a lot of reading(twelve chapters in Isaiah today), we’ve been amazed to find that we DO have the time in our day to get it done. We’re also amazed at how God uses what we read each day and brings it back to mind in different situations. Apparently, the Word is living and active — who knew?!
3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
I’ve been challenged to think about the difference between giving and sacrificing. This year for Christmas, we’ve gotten the chance to do a little bit of both, and I’m hoping that this next year God will use our resources to really bless people in need all over the world. This post details some of the ministries and organizations that take your gifts and use them to end poverty all around the world, especially during the Christmas season. Definitely give those websites a look as you’re shopping for the holidays!
4. Spend your time in another context
Our association is planting a church in Phoenix in 2011. While Phoenix is not poverty-stricken and is not all that foreign, there is a need there. I’m hoping that all four Faulks will be able to go there sometime in the next year, to see what work is being done, and to be available to assist and then raise support here at home for that ministry. Here’s hoping!
5. Commit your life to a multiplying community
Sometimes I think we’re overcommitted in this area. (Ana told me the other day when we were at the church, “This is where Papi lives when he’s not at home!” She’s more right than she knows!) But then, when I think about what the biblical church is and that Christ’s command is for us to BE the church and not just GO to church, I think we’re probably overcommitted to something entirely different. I’m challenged to spend time and energy in the Christ-glorifying, body-multiplying aspects of church ministry — discipleship, evangelism, study of the Word. And I’m committed to really BEING there, instead of just passively observing all the motions and routines of church life.
It’s been fun reading along with you all. Here’s hoping that the “major medical emergency” that follows reading this book would give us all greater spiritual health in the year ahead!