Saturday, May 14, 2011

Counting the Cost

"“For who of you, wishing to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation, and is unable to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was unable to finish.’"   Luke 14:28-30

When Yeshua taught this lesson to HIS talmidin, it was easy to see the wisdom of HIS Words.  Applying that wisdom to a life devoted wholly to following after HIM isn't always as easy as one might like to think.  There are many other Scriptures that come into consideration in such matters.  

This was truly the case in our deliberations of traveling north to Alaska.  Our resources appeared to fall far short of such a huge undertaking and we were forced to look to HIM as our SOURCE and our PROVIDER.  We firmly believe that HE is able to do far more than we can ask or imagine and that anything that HE asks us to do comes with the provision necessary to carry out the task to it's completion.  Walking out that belief so far out of our "comfort zone" wasn't going to be easy.

In our efforts to calculate the costs involved (and these costs went far beyond the obvious monetary concerns), we were overwhelmed and discouraged right at the beginning.  While HE reveals the "end from the beginning" in Scripture, (see DannyLee's blog for his posts on this subject), life doesn't always work that way as we struggle to deal with things on a much smaller scale - as in, day by day.  Traveling to Alaska would take us far beyond the world we knew and the people we care about.  We would have to face the unknown and the unknowable as we trusted in HIM to walk us through each day.  

Perhaps this was HIS intent from the beginning as we prayed for HIM to teach us to live with "right now" faith.  As Mike Clayton teaches, Biblical prosperity is more about having what you need for each day than it is about being rich in worldly goods.  Faith only grows when we are forced to lean on HIM for our daily needs and we are able to see HIS provision.  One thing we've learned about receiving answers to prayers is that the answer that comes isn't generally going to be on our terms, but on HIS.  We could see the need for growth even as we determined to do HIS Will above ours.  The "tests" were about to begin.

In the end, the costs were daunting, but we made it and HIS provision was good throughout our journey.  After more than 5,000 miles and $3,000 in gas, we were amazed that we had made it at all.  We spent about $250 on repairs and several nights in "Wally World" parking lots to make ends meet and I did a lot of cooking on the road as "fast food" just wasn't an option. 
Our journey took nearly a month and much of that time was basically spent driving so the wear and tear on us and our rig was a real consideration.  The emotional costs also came into play at times as we worked through our personal fears and doubts along the road.  We struggled with the very human desire to question as to whether we had truly heard from HIM despite the many, many confirmations that HE gave us, even as we traveled on our way.  

One belief that upheld us all the way to Alaska is that "HIS timing is always perfect".  As we dodged the tornadoes that decimated Alabama and the surrounding states, and drove through the high winds and hail that plagued us through Arkansas and Oklahoma, we praised HIS timing.  

Driving across the Mississippi River on I-40 in Arkansas and later learning how close that juncture came to being closed due to flooding was another reason for praise.  The flooded plains that surrounded us all the way to the detour around Winnipeg were a constant reminder that a day later or a day sooner on this trip could have found us stranded many times along the way.  

Being no more than a day ahead or a day behind every winter storm watch that hit the towns around us with heavy snowfalls left us feeling as if somehow we were walking a "weather tightrope" with no room for errors.  The culmination of all these disasters came as we crossed Alberta and the news reported 84 forest fires throughout the province, including one that drove our friends in Red Earth Creek from their home only a couple of days after we left them.  That fire passed right through the middle of their property leaving both of their houses intact and a huge cleanup job behind.  We dared not think of how close we came to being caught up in all of these events.  

Our final test was the snow that began in Haines Junction and spanned the distance to our destination in Tok.  While we traveled safely through the storm, our praise and thanks was once more directed Heavenward as only HE had the power to bring us to the place HE wanted us to be.  

I will be uploading all of our travel pictures into a photo album that you can find on the Lijit link on the left side here.  This will take some time as I must both sort and label the many pictures that came our way on this long journey.  I do hope that somehow our journey will provide a measure of encouragement to all those that read this blog as you face the task that HE has placed front of you.

Looking South towards Anchorage

Looking North towards Fairbanks

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