They said we were crazy, and we probably were. But we’ve got a story to tell. The year was 1989 in the month of May, 26 years ago, when we embarked upon this crazy adventure. Craziness which only intensifies as the years go by. “It’ll never work,” they told us. “Don’t do it! It’s crazy. Insane. You’ve got to use common sense, too.” But we read Oswald Chambers too often, finding there words which resonated in our hearts.
Words encouraging us to follow God immediately and recklessly, casting our all on him — and being willing to risk all for him.
Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all. My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers).
Reckless abandon, that’s what Chambers called it. Friends and family: just plain foolishness.
Death by starvation, that was the forecast. Or at least an ignoble return home in utter failure. And by all logic, we shouldn’t still be here. But over 26 years have gone by. Good times, and bad ones. Times of plenty, and of lack.
And a quarter of a century later, we’re still here. With hearts full of thanksgiving. Hearts that still shout “God is the God of reckless abandon!”
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad, (Psalm 126:3).
Times were rough in our earliest years. Expenses greatly outweighed income. Though we practiced simple living at its best, expenses towered over our pitiful pile of coins. Lest you think I exaggerate, we counted out pennies for any kind of food, often wondering where the next meal would come from. And any accountant would quickly tell you that we shouldn’t still be around. But we are, and with a tale to tell.
Gradually, over the years, offerings picked up, and life became a bit more normal. Although I sometimes wonder if that’s been good. Those earlier years, in every way, were the best of our lives.
For through the reckless abandon Chambers speaks of, we learned to recognize God’s voice and his ways.
Perhaps a life of reckless abandonment isn’t necessary for everyone. I don’t know. But we have found, in our life at least, that comfortable living does not force us to cast our all upon the One who cares for us. Rather, it lulls us into a peaceful passivity. But here, I digress…
We set out with basically nothing. Just 2 kids and 8 suitcases. But with no support base, no money in the bank, no property or assets, and very little cash. It was craziness. It still is.
But we’re still here. Still trying to serve God with the same reckless abandon. And that’s why we have a story to tell. But it’s really a story in the third person. For it’s not ours, but God’s. His story in our lives.
Like Peter walking on the water, we should have sunk long ago. And would have, but for the keeping power of God. He never let go of our hand, and he kept us looking up at him.
And now, in our 26th year here in Italy, we find the wind still boisterous, the waves high. Life will never be without trials. But even in the midst of the storms, God takes care of us. Even providing two houses on our below poverty level income!
God wants us to keep our eyes on him, and follow him with wild, reckless abandon…
But things can become a snare to this.
Causing us to take our eyes off him, and put them on plenty and riches. Making us think we can take care of ourselves.
And poverty can likewise ensnare us.
Causing us to wonder if the Lord has forgotten us. And our downcast soul pulls our eyes off him and on to our problems.
But by keeping our eyes on him, in good times and in bad, we learn that he is the One who calms the wind and the waves. And that with him we can never really sink. Because even at the bottom of the ocean, we’ll still find ourselves in his arms.
And we learn that following with reckless abandon, is really the height of wisdom. It is foolishness in man’s eyes only.
And all who follow that path have a special story to tell. It’s the tale of God’s great faithfulness and care!
[Image of Abruzzo lighthouse ©TheScorziellos]