Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Written by Troy-

Sunday morning I looked forward to singing and praising and joining with friends at church. I knew that it would be an uplifting time of worship and encouragement from fellow believers… I knew that it would be good to be in God’s presence and hear His word in a corporate setting… I did NOT know that God had a target on my head and had many parts of His perfect plan coming together to blow me away.

Johnny Mac (as I like to call him) was preaching a sermon about Jesus’ disciples, and basically how stupid they were sometimes. Ok, maybe not stupid, but definitely forgetful.

They fit right in with the pattern of fallen humanity and our forgetfulness through the ages –

“Adam and Eve, hello? Remember what I said about that tree? Apparently not…. Hey! Israelites! Remember being released from bondage and the provision in the desert and that little thing I asked about not worshipping other gods? Hmmmm, whose golden calf is that over there? …. Oh, and you’re worrying about your meals when I’ve made food fall from the sky and water come out of the rocks for you already?”

And so on and so forth through the generations right down to Troy and Tara Livesay.

The disciples were with Jesus, in the flesh, watching Him perform miracle after miracle. They watched in person as the food multiplied and fed the five thousand, then shortly thereafter freaked out when seeing Jesus walking on water. (Mark 6:33-52) Umm, hello? Disciples? What part of miraculous and God don’t you understand? Did you forget who He is and what He’s done?

I don’t think I’m that forgetful. Am I?

Oh, and then the guy who casts out demons and heals people with a touch of his hand and raises the dead is speaking to a crowd of four thousand people. When he mentions wanting to feed them, the disciples again act stupid forgetful and ask where in the world they are going to come up with food for such a large group. Guess what? They all ate. OK, guys, surely you have this figured out by now. Well, maybe not…because soon after they take off on another boat ride and start whining that they forgot to bring any bread with them. Jesus doesn’t put up with this nonsense in person. I like that. He really goes after them this time – not for forgetting the bread – but for forgetting all the miracles and provision they’ve seen with their own eyes. (Mark 8:2-21) Verse 21 ends with Jesus asking them: “Do you not yet understand?”

As I listened to the sermon I saw a vision of my own forgetfulness. I knew that I was at least one of the people that God planned this message for. I am that forgetful. Then, to make sure I was getting the point, God laid it on John’s heart to speak a word to us about our current situation. I was reminded that at one point God called our family to serve Him in Haiti. We of course acted very disciple-like and instantly made a list of all the impossible obstacles and reasons why that would not really work for us. Then God (who I find to be much more patient from Heaven than when in person on boat rides) moved mountains and crossed off all the items on our silly little list of ‘impossible’ things…and now here we are in Haiti two and a half years later…and starting to forget.

Note to self (and from Pastor John): The same God that did the impossible before is the same God that can do the impossible today… multiplying loaves and fishes – moving our large family to Haiti … walking on water – meeting our needs back then, since then, and today. Same one. Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Faithful.

We have been forgetful. We have been worrying and calculating and questioning far too much for far too long. It has held us back and kept us down. We have claimed His promises and hoped for them to happen, but I know we hadn’t fully trusted Him to meet our needs. We wanted all the money to be in place before we started to buy things and make commitments… we wanted budgets to make sense and for all the columns to line up, and even hoped for a little bit of savings left over… we questioned His calling, His provision, and His promises.

We forgot.

He is faithful. In the midst of our fretting and forgetting, we had already found an incredible deal on a generator and hesitantly made the purchase, learned of inverters and batteries available for us to use, and then found a perfect vehicle for us on the first day on the first try at a price that just happened to be the exact amount of money we had in savings after buying the generator. We kept on worrying through all of it, of course, because we are forgetful. The only thing that pushed us into going for it on the vehicle purchase - was the recent 97 Seconds with God blog post/devotional we shared called “Go Before You Know”. Even as we bought the truck on Saturday - we agreed together that it felt stupid and questioned if we had just been irresponsible?

Instead of asking what our problem was and why we’re so dull and deaf, He just kept patiently prodding us along. And still we were forgetting and worrying … that the other donors might not come in and the existing ones won’t switch over and stick with us and should we have spent that money and what about appliances and does God want us to spend His money to work in Haiti and our family is too big and maybe we should not even be here and what if we don’t find a house and the rent is too high et cetera ad infinitum.

It had come down to this – renting a house here in Haiti is both difficult and expensive. From a forgetful human standpoint, that is. The fact is we have found a house, and it may be the perfect one – right location, right size, relatively safe, very clean and nice – too nice maybe – and we’re trying to decide if it’s the one. We’re still searching and discerning and praying for a final decision this week. Please pray with us on that.

The biggest challenge we faced (that God was laughing at) was the fact that current rent prices would not allow room in the budget for our three school-aged children to attend the school we want and need them in. We had already compromised and decided to only send two of them. Then we checked the numbers again and realized that even cutting corners and being careful we could only really send one so we were back to questioning everything. We tried to find ways to make it work and guessed and stressed over how it was going to be possible. Our conversations took us in circles as we plotted and tried to figure out how many more partners we needed each month in order to get our kids to school, etc. I’ve tried to reason that at least we’re like the disciples in one way – very forgetful.

Sunday after church I stopped to greet one last person that I hadn’t seen for a while. He actually does not attend our church, but was visiting. He asked how our plans were coming along. I was feeling down about it but tried to put a positive spin on things and listed the great stuff that had come together so far. He asked the question I couldn’t answer: “What about school?” I explained the situation with rent prices and the current budget and the compromises we were considering. Then I saw Jesus, in action, walking on water. I know how it sounds, cheesy, right? But I’ve honestly never been more humbled and moved by the selfless giving of another person.

This person, a fellow missionary, offered to close the gap and pay for the other two children to go to school for the year. I protested that he couldn’t do that, and he insisted that he could. As he explained the circumstances making it possible I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up. I argued more and only agreed to take him up on the start of the school year and promised to find a way to cover the rest. (I’ve since been called stupid and forgetful by someone who shall go unnamed . Thanks Johnny Mac.) ;)

I drove home in a state of shock and for over an hour I cried, prayed, and laughed hysterically while basking in God’s amazing love. While praying I couldn’t find the words and God told me I didn’t need any. I told Him I didn’t know what to do and He said ‘JUST OBEY, AND DON’T FORGET.’ I cried out about my unworthiness and He assured me that I am worthy through the blood of His Son. The tears turned to laughter and I’m sure I put on quite a show for the rest of the traffic along Route National 1.

I received a phone call after arriving home with the news that the whole year has been paid for. Tara and I are still in shock, humbled, and grateful for this unbelievable blessing.

Hudson Taylor, one of the pioneer missionaries to China who knew God supernaturally provided for him all along his life, said this:

'When God's work is done in God's way for God's glory, it will not lack for God's supply'.

Dear Lord, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Give us your power and strength to continue seeking you and your will for our family. We praise you and glorify you for being so faithful and providing for us in every way. Thank you for letting us come to you and being so patient with us. Help us not to forget. In Jesus’ name, Amen.