“Our natural inclination is to be so precise – trying always to forecast what will happen next – that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty…We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. There is a tension that comes with uncertainty. We tend to think of tension as being something to avoid, but the opposite, slackness, is often not desirable. Tension is necessary in building bridges, and it is necessary in building faith. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and to the task He has places closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.” –Oswald Chambers
SURPRISE! I’m writing to you from Sinai Hospital, Baltimore MD where I am at my father’s bedside. I think most of you knew that I came here with the primary intention of lending motherly support to my sons after the loss of their dad several months ago. Since I made that plan, I have seen at least 2 other very specific purposes God had for me to be here “for such a time as this.” Five days after getting back, I took my Dad for his first-ever colonoscopy (BAD DAD!). They found cancer in two places with a suspected third location. After an initially successful surgery, he has undergone 2 major setbacks – an
emergency re-surgery to repair a tiny hole, and then back into ICU a week later with 2 lg. blood clots, a partially collapsed lung, and an incision infection. It has been a wild ride for him – and for us. I am in complete awe of God’s Perfect Timing and am acutely aware of, and so thankful for the availability of good medical facilities and care Dad is receiving. As of today, Christmas Eve, he is still in the hospital after almost a month. It will be a long road to recovering his strength, but we are prayerfully hopeful that God will give him many more years of good health and precious time with family. Thank you to all who prayed along with us. We truly treasure each entreaty placed before God’s throne of Grace on his
SURPRISE! Mary converses with a visiting angel and gets the shock of her virginal life. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given – and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “ Could we ever ask for more than such a precious, all-encompassing GIFT? I pray that you will re-discover and be re-amazed the awesomeness of this gift
I am really enjoying being back with my family and friends –especially during the holidays. I have never been so conscious of blessings, both large and small as I am each moment I’m here – the smell of newmown grass and fir trees, the sights and sounds of Christmas lights and Christmas music everywhere, hearing the voices of those I love over the telephone (IM chatting usually must suffice), the great roads, the unbelievable options in everything! Conversely, I am constantly and often painfully reminded of the huge disparity between this world and the one I just returned from – Malawi. The sights, sounds and
smells of a very different nature – those of profound poverty. But also those countenances which radiate a joy and light not found in decorative LCD bulbs, but emanate from the very depths of knowing and loving God more than things of this life – a transcending power which defies all reason. Pure JOY! The kind of joy that flows from knowing Jesus – the Light of the World!
Regardless of how your personal surprises are packaged, rest assured that God is never taken by surprise – he has planned and purposed each one in your best interest, with loving-kindness and the grace to make it through whatever He has called you to. Many thanks to you, my supportive friends, for allowing me to serve with World Relief. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. May you know the Peace of God, and may you pass along the Good News of Goodwill to all!
P.S. I will be returning to Malawi in February to continue my volunteer work in Malawi with World Relief. Please consider a year-end donation to this vital ministry to the most vulnerable, at http://www.worldrelief.org/nagel . If you prefer to send a check, it’s World Relief, Attn. Donor Services – 7 East Baltimore St. – Baltimore, MD 21202. Be sure to write NAGEL #1185000 on the memo line for your donation to be credited to my Ambassador account. THANK YOU!