While reading Luke 9 this morning, I was drawn to the verses that talk about Jesus "setting his face" towards Jerusalem. Isaiah 50:7 refers to setting a face like flint. It reminded me of the times when I actually have that same sense and I know the Lord has called me to do something outside my normal pattern, my comfort zone.
When the "flinty face" happens, my understanding has grown that it is God's way of telling me I'm headed into a tough situation or onto an unfamiliar path and I must not let fear, or other interfering emotions, deter me from "following my face."
Six years ago He laid it on me big time to go to Soroti, Uganda, to help in the rebel/IDP situation . I felt very insecure at first. Not the "going", because I'm nearly always ready and willing to do that, but having no idea how I could help in a war zone; I'm definitely not a medical person, which was the obvious need. From the beginning of the "call" -- so intense and specific -- I could, at certain times, feel my face becoming "flinty". Occasionally during the stretch between the "call" in early September, until my arrival in Uganda in mid-November, if someone told me they disapproved of what I was planning and they didn't believe I'd heard correctly, I felt my face tighten and harden ... and it wasn't because I was torked at the person who was challenging me. It was simply because the Lord was making sure I didn't let anything, or anyone, interfere with His instructions.
When I reached Uganda, while resting and prepping and hanging out with my many Ugandan family and friends at a ministry location, a hundred miles or so from Soroti, one of the organization's leaders told me I seemed "too determined" and he couldn't guarantee they would help me or allow me to help them. While he was talking to me, I felt my face tighten, and I, basically, told him whether they approved or not, I was going because that was what God had called me to do. Period. He said I was being too inflexible, but I knew "flint" doesn't flex. Within a few days he had "caved" to my desires and for part of my time, I did work with and for them. My time in Soroti was one of the hardest -- if not THE hardest -- ministry stretches I've ever faced, even though I met many wonderful pastors, international aide workers, and locals. I returned home in mid February and was in emotional and physical recovery for several months. However, not once did I question whether I was in the right place at the right time. [And, thankfully, neither did my dear husband, who had to walk through the pre-, actual, and post- results of the "call."]
The most recent "flint" occurred in July. The Lord called me to drive a truck from Omaha to New Hampshire. I had never driven anything diesel; I had never driven anything that long/large; I had never driven through much of that part of the country. I had several scary driving situations due to weather, my inexperience, other folks' popping their cars around the truck and startling me. "Help me, Jesus" was hollered hundreds of times, I'm sure. And, if He hadn't responded, not only would the household belongings in the truck have been damaged, but quite possibly my body. Also, while driving, I could sense that not only was I crossing "state" lines, but crossing spiritual lines. The spiritual discernment gift of mine that's a little on the weak side much of the time was greatly sensitized. Knowing these things really kept me on constant alert. After 3 very long 12-to-15- hour driving days, I reached there in good condition, other than exhausted, and, miraculously, nothing in the truck was damaged.
Quite often I "feel" the Lord wants me to go somewhere and I prepare for the trip. During the prep time, I usually move cautiously to make sure I'm not just in a mood to "run away from home" -- away from the frustrations and everydayness of life.
-- And then there are those other times... those amazing times .... when my face turns to flint.