On our mission trip to the Middle East, we spent time with a woman (our contact) who took care of our needs for travel, meals, and church connections. She shared with us many stories. One, in fact, was that the Christian churches in the region suffered threats and persecutions for being Christian. While the Iranian refugees were ‘technically’ allowed to worship Jesus, the natives of this country suffered great harm if they were caught doing so.
One man, who was from this region, is married to an American woman. They have seven children. Both are followers of Christ. Their heart and mission were to evangelize this part of the Muslim world. Likewise, their heart and mission are to also impress upon their own children a love for God and salvation in Jesus.
The day came when their hearts were in conflict.
Choosing from ‘Heart to Heart’
The government demanded they send their children to the public school so that they could be taught, Islam. In this country, when children reach the 3rd grade, it was mandatory they attend the public schools. Learning Islam is not a side subject; it is a way of life. The goal is indoctrination in the Muslim faith.
These parents did not want this for their children.
When their children reached the age of school, they were required to stop homeschooling; the couple refused. This refusal came at a significant cost. If they did not send their kids to school, the government taxed them heavily for each child. This tax was impossible to pay.
As I mentioned yesterday in my post How to Choose from Good to Better, in life we are met with two paths to take; good vs. evil is easy. Good to better is complicated. But choosing from ‘heart to heart’ is difficult. This couple had a ‘heart to heart’ decision to make: They either put their kids in school or they leave the country, which meant leaving the mission to reach the people there for Christ.
Can God Weave our Hearts in Conflict?
In this couple’s case, they had a desire to evangelize and disciple the people in this region. But they also had the desire for their own children to know Jesus. Do they do one and sacrifice the other? How do they weave the calling for both?
Because seeking the Lord and His Kingdom was their practice, they, first, went to Him in prayer. As a result, they chose to leave the country and the people they loved.
Leaving was heartbreaking, but trusting in God’s plan, they came to America and settled in Texas.
Nonetheless, they did not escape the deep desire to evangelize and disciple the people of Turkey. After a time, and as they took delight in the LORD, He gave them the yearnings of their heart. (Psalm 37:4).
God blessed them with a Turkish population in America where they could continue their ministry to them as well as continue the call to raise their children for the Lord.
How Do You Choose from ‘Heart to Heart’?
What appeared to be a choice between one or the other, became a mission to do both, but in a different country. This couple was willing to trust the wisdom of Solomon, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). This couple had no idea about the Turkish population in America. But God did! Who knows, just maybe the people they disciple this side of the globe may very well be called to go back to Turkey and evangelize their own people.
What I love about their story is God cares for the Turkish people, but He also cared for their family.
The following are three steps you can take when it comes to choosing from ‘heart to heart’:
- Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. All that is pressing and pursuing your heart will be provided for you; it just may not be in the way you originally planned.
- Be flexible to follow God’s lead. Take delight in the Lord, and as you do, He will grant you the yearnings you seek, but it will be in His time, not yours. As you wait, worship and be moldable to His lead.
- Align your priorities with His. God first – Family second – the lost third – the church forth. As you follow His value system, He will give balance in all four. In some way, and somehow, all will be accomplished. Remember that God values all four, not just one. However, keep in mind, God is a God of order; His order has a significant purpose. Follow it and be blessed.
This couple impressed me deeply. They still had a heart for the Turkish people, they still wanted to disciple them and they remained steadfast in that calling for their life. But the heart for them did not come before the discipleship of their children. This commitment to their children’s salvation connected with my love for the same.
As parents, we can learn much from them. They chose not to allow their own children to join ranks with the lost of the world. They still served the Turkish people, but it was not at the expense of their children’s souls.
Where do you have to choose from ‘heart to heart’? In what ways can you trust God for His plan?
I would love to hear from you! Your desires inspire mine!