It has been a week since we arrived back in Tamatave, Madagascar and it feels as though we have never left. However, we did leave and the time in between has been quite the journey.
The last few weeks of our time in Durban were faced with one delay after another. With work projects coming to an end in dry dock we found more damage. With the damage diagnosed we ran into complications. With the complications resolved we found ourselves at anchor.
Though the ship is at anchor and we are delayed. Though the hospital is closed and we are canceling surgeries. Though the nurses are reassigned and we are ready to leave, yet I will exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
We were desperately trying to get back to Madagascar. There were patients returning and new ones arriving. We knew God was going to do amazing things in these amazing people’s lives and yet we were still not there.
What was the constant through this all?
That we as a crew REMAIN on our knees before the Lord.
We may never know why circumstances landed us at anchor for three days but sure enough that is where we ended up. Yes, we know on the surface why we had to raise that black buoy up the mast and lower the anchors down but I personally believe there is much more going on.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
It is not enough that we come before the Lord with our requests and pleas for help. We must stay there for we cannot fight this battle alone.
I am fully convinced that this field service is going to long. It is going to be hard. It is going to be a fight.
The wonderful patients in Madagascar often bring with them more spiritual baggage than we could ever imagine. The only way we will make it to the end of this field service is to remain on our knees in the presence of the Lord. He must be our source of strength in times of trials and peace.
This is a term that came to me one morning as I was praying while we sat at anchor. I wasn’t sure what it meant or why it was lodged in my mind.
Hold fast: something to which something else may be firmly secured (Mirriam-Webster). Holdfast: a root-like structure that anchors aquatic sessile organism, such as seaweed etc. to the substrate. (wikipedia)
Either way, this word implies being anchored and that is exactly where we sat.
What is the ship anchored in and what is our anchor? Unless the Lord is our anchor and we are secure in his Word – the substrate that gives us nutrients – we will fail.
This field service needs to be approached on our knees, tackled on our knees and completed on our knees.
Thank God we have arrived.
Last Sunday the sun rose, the Malagasy flag was raised and we sailed into port, hopefully in his presence, to accomplish all he has set before us.