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Evidence of His Power

Posted by David and Rebecca Ortiz
David and Rebecca Ortiz
David and Rebecca Ortiz have moved from San Antonio, Texas to Paraguay to join the Lord in what He is already ...
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on Monday, 30 November 2015 in Uncategorized

Have you ever come to a point where you feel like you’ve reached the end of yourself? The end of your capacity to do, achieve, make right, feel good, or turn things around?

When you hear songs about being broken and empty so that you can be brought to a place where God is “your one and only desire”, do you relate to that because you’ve truly experienced brokenness or does it just stir you up because it's good music?

If I’m honest, I’d tell you that for many years, these words were on my lips as words of praise, but I didn’t truly know what it would feel like to come to the end of myself. To look at my oikos (those in my life, my sphere of ministry) and say, “God I have no idea what to do. I feel like I’m drowning here and every now and then an oar of life comes along and rather than lifting me up it smacks me on the back of the head. And what’s more is somewhere along the line I grew numb and stopped caring. I don’t doubt the truth of who you are or that you desire to work through me in your plan to expand your kingdom, but I’ve just got nothing.” And in that moment you either sink and give up or you begin to learn a new level of dependence on the Lord. You “come to him (because) he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God.” (Isaiah 30:18)

Our past two years have been spent developing relationships, living where God has placed us and reaching out (somewhat awkwardly at times) to just love people where He has put us. We have experienced a house fire our second day in our home and the fairly traumatic birth of our 3rd child.  We have been swindled, hit up for bribes by the police, Rebecca and the kids were in a hit-and-run auto accident, and our house burglarized—all in a period of 2 years. This truthfully felt like more than enough to handle. We could see God’s hand and we were learning to trust him at a deeper level, walking in a new level of humility and submission. And then this September rolled around and (as most of you already know) Bob, Rebecca’s Dad went to be with Jesus. There was no warning, no time to react or plan or really even say goodbye. And our world just stopped. None of us have ever walked through grief like this before. We still have no idea what we are doing or how to go forward.  To make matters worse, David’s dad was experiencing serious complications from a surgery and was being hospitalized the very day we learned that Bob had died. Even as we boarded our flight to San Antonio for Bob’s funeral, David’s dad’s situation became more serious and he would require 2 more surgeries over a period of 3 weeks. Ultimately, part of our family flew back to Paraguay early for fear that we would be saying goodbye to another Grandpa.

These details are not given so you can feel sorry for our situation or so you can look at it and think, “gee, I’m really glad that’s not us. I don’t think I could do that.” But I share this so I can tell you, we have had to land on our knees with a new level of crying out to God. Most days we are still walking through a kind of numbness. On almost every level of life and ministry Bob was a key part, often behind the scenes. I’ve found myself asking, “God, I can’t even get myself together, how in the world can I reach out to others?” In his goodness and mercy God has answered this beautifully in a way that really shows his power displayed more greatly through our weakness.

Shortly after returning to Paraguay from Bob’s funeral, I was at lunch with a friend. This is a friend whom our family has prayed for repeatedly and yet we have seen very little interest or receptiveness to spiritual things. During lunch, I shared how I was grateful that walking through loss and grief for the first time with our kids was happening with someone like Bob, who was a believer. Because of this I could tell Elizabeth and Lucas with confidence that Grandpa knew Jesus as his savior and was very definitely in heaven with the Lord. My friend then gently and with true child-like curiosity asked, “How do you really know that? I mean, what about other faiths? Or really good people? How do you explain that to the kids?” I then began to walk her through God’s plan of salvation starting from the beginning and sharing how unlike any other religion, God’s story is one of pursuit, of reaching down and suffering with/for his people, all so he could redeem them. No other religion offers that. I can’t even recall all of the specific words that I shared. As I later realized, there was scripture coming out of me that I didn’t even know was in there. And all the while the “feelings” part of me was truthfully still very numb with grief. I wasn’t looking for an opportunity to share or preach at my friend and I wasn’t worried about what words I used or if I would offend. I was numb.  But none of that mattered. That day God included me in what He was doing. I was able to be his light just by being willing to be there and letting him shine through.

My mistake is thinking that somehow God is relying on me to do or say something significant. I think that if I bake enough meals or reach out to enough people that it will be my love that softens their hearts. But all it took was that one lunch for me to realize, “nope it really isn’t about me.” God’s purposes will be accomplished. They will not be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

So I’ve stopped worrying so much about having a plan, checking off a list of who I shared with that day or had an impact on. Instead, I wake up each day, often dragging myself out of bed, with a new level of commitment to prayer, knowing I cannot make it through the day without him. Then I simply put myself before the throne saying, “God, you know my heart. I’m here. I’m an open vessel to be used by you for your glory. Take all your power and make it shine beautifully through my weakness.”

We are each claiming the truth of Isaiah 30:20-21 and 41:31, “Though the Lord gave [me] adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with [me] to teach [me]. [I] will see [my] teacher with [my] own eyes. [My very] own ears will hear him. Right behind [me] a voice will say, “This is the way you should go.”  [And because of this we know]  “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

In Christ,

Rebecca

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