Posted by Mark Labuschagne on Thursday, August 15, 2013
After the truck was loaded and everything that we owned was sold, we handed the keys over to the agent and standing with our suitcases and nothing more than we were wearing, we waited to see what the Lord would have us do. Not long after this, my brother arrived to take us to Margate, on the Kwazulu Natal (KZN) South Coast, an area that we previously stayed in and my immediate reaction was, Lord, not to Margate. I really never liked the place and I tried everything in the past to get away from the town and now to end up back in the same area, well was just too much for me
Days went by, and I had so many questions. One of the biggest issues I have ever had was always with having to know what the Father expected of me. I somehow felt if I knew His will, then everything else would make sense, but for some reason or another, the Lord always kept me waiting on Him and I soon learnt that waiting simply meant to be occupied with Him 24/7. Most times I found the Lord would simply guide me along a path that only in later years would I recognize as what I now term, “The road less traveled”.
We ended up staying with my mother in law, she happened to have the space and God happened to have a sense of humor. I think that she was not quite sure what we were going through at the time, but that she was glad to have the grandchildren around, was good enough reason for her.
I used to spend every morning walking a few miles and prayed at the same time asking the Lord to lead us. I became obsessed with knowing His heart and His plan for our lives. Except for my wife and our immediate family, I had everyone around me asking questions. The why’s and the when’s were seemingly relentless and to make things worse, I had no answer to give them. Their inquiries were simply that and most times, people were merely interested in what we were going through. Nevertheless, I continued to ask and seek the Lord for answers and again, the more I asked, the less God seemed to answer.
Following these trying times, I have come to realize that in most instances when God speaks, it might not necessary be paragraphs, and could very well be just a couple of lines or words, but it is always enough to get us through to the next stage. I also realized the Lord needed to teach me to trust him and he needed to “know” (Not really, because he already knew everything) if I could be trusted with His word.
I continued to seek God, but I must also say, I continued to complain. Oh, thank the Lord He does not react to moaning, and that even though I did, he knew I was carry an immense burden, one that he was able to relieve me of, if I only would cast it on him. Sadly, for some reason or another, I kept carrying it around with me. I say “sadly”, because it was totally unnecessary for me to do so. All God wanted was my attention and my trust. Nothing more than that was required of me at the time, but I was blinded to this truth and it would take many years for me to come to realize that I was in fact the problem.
I must be honest, as we just seemed to have come to a complete stand still, we just could not answer the continual questions some folk were asking. The more they asked, the less I found myself able to answer. Actually, at one point it got so bad that I began to question myself altogether and question whether God in fact had spoken to me at all. I started entertaining every thought that penetrated my mind, every different scenario played like a movie through my head and in the end, causing me to believe I had missed God and had totally messed everything up. But that is what the enemy of your soul wants, he wants you to fail, he does not want you to succeed at anything and so he will try his best to frustrate God’s plan in you, however, I came to the understanding, this can only happen if I allowed it to.
I continue to thank the Lord for Andi. My wife never ever complained or put any pressure on me whatsoever. In her eyes, God had spoken and that settled the matter. Most women I know would never have the grace to do what she did, but true to her word, she never ever doubted God and this made it so much easier. I must say, I could not understand how come she handled our situation at the time very different to the way that I did, but, I soon came to realize that the Lord had given her grace to do so and this was exactly what I needed to learn and become, if I wanted to excel in the things of the Lord. God purposed me to be a man after His own heart and was willing to take me through the process to ensure that U was. Today, wherever I go, I always tell folks I am what I am by the grace of God and the loving support of my best friend.
Andi and I decided that as we were in Margate and we had nowhere else to go, whether it was right or wrong at the time, we had to place Carey, our daughter, who was seven at the time back into school. This was one of the arguments I had with God, surely uprooting us like this as a family, was not in your plan, I asked? But our heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom never said a word.
The Lord graciously provided the funds for us to purchase new school clothing and we were able to pay the school fees. Again, when this happened, I thought, well this must be the place then where we were going to end up. I recalled how the Lord said he was sending us to the south and although Margate was south of where we were at, I could not help but think this was not the right place.
Day after day I complained. I felt torn on the inside. Instead of standing on the word and promises of God, I allowed myself to get caught up with all the questions, questions that only sort to distract God's purpose in us. Today, I have come to learn, when God speaks, we stand still and allow Him to lead us into all that He has promised. Without compromise and without question, we follow the leading of His Spirit and this has become an integral part of our worship.
When the Lord spoke to Noah, he never questioned the Lord, in fact he carried out the instruction he was given, even in the face of adversity Noah remained steadfast in his resolve to worship God. Because of his faithfulness, Noah found favor with the Lord (Gen 6:8), Friend, when God speaks, all we have to do is surrender to Him, for I have found, He has never forsaken us, even when I made mistakes, God remained faithful and true.
I think one of the biggest things back then was that I was a selfish man, I made everything about myself and if it did not work out the way I wanted it to or thought that it should, I would begin to murmur. Pity though, but grateful that the Lord never held it against me. Many lessons were taught and learnt in those days, living by faith was not everything I thought it meant and soon learnt it was not something I could just do, especially on my own.
I had to come to a place of total abandonment, a place of complete surrender. I had to come to a place of submission, and learnt to be obedient to His leading. Fact remains, if I had known then what I know today, things would not have been any different, but at least a whole lot easier. Believe me when I tell you, all these years later, God has never failed us, not once, and as you read on, I hope to share many of the testimonies of the many hundreds of miracles our family can attest to. One thing we do know, we serve an incredible awesome God. No doubt about it.
Going back a few weeks earlier, while all the grumbling was going on, I called a number of my friends, who were pastors of local churches thinking that as least one of them could use me, this way, I would still feel as if I was “in” the ministry and that no one could or would doubt my calling. I called every one of them and asked if I could make an appointment to see them, and you can believe me when I tell you, not one of them ever responded to my calls. Not one of them was ever available when I called either, and even if I got to leave a message, not one of them ever returned my call. Only later one did I come to see the hand of the Lord in this matter. For if these doors opened to me, we would most definitely not be in the place our Father had purposed for us.
You can imagine how devastated I felt about this, I mean, I really thought that as I was stuck in a place where I did not want to be, at least let me do what I was called to do. But my friends, this was me running ahead of God. This was Mark trying to do his own thing, sort of like, trying to help God out as it were. How many times has God not spoken to us and we feel the need to help out a little or that we have to do something about our situation. Friend, if the Lord never instructed us to do something more than trust Him, then getting involved can serves one purpose, to frustrate the plan of God.
When no one came back to me, I decided then to enter the secular by applying for certain jobs that were on offer. I felt that if God was not going to show me the way, then I would have to make one. I decided that I would now leave full time ministry and this because I was probably been stubborn and so I applied for every sales position I found.
I contacted some of my friends that had businesses in the area and thought that they would give me work. In fact I was so confident that I would get employment that I even acted as if the jobs were already mine. I mean I had so many people telling me that I had to be responsible and take care of my family. I heard this over and over again, and in the end, with all that was going on around us, I capitulated and rebelled against the purpose of God. Going for these interviews was never part of His plan, but the Lord let me go ahead anyway.
Again, even though I had the right credentials, and was more than qualified for some of the junior positions, nothing, not one single job interview was successful. I mean, not one of them, even after saying all the right things, making me feel like this is it, every position was filled by someone else. When I inquired of the Lord as to why this had happened, I clearly heard Him say, He had nothing to do with me applying for these positions, and as it was not part of His plan, nothing would therefore come of it.
Oh my goodness, I thought, every door is being shut in my face, surely one person should not have to endure such treatment. Surely our heavenly Father saw our hearts and that all we wanted was to please Him, yet He has chosen to deal with us in this way. Well of course that was not the case, but I needed to vent a little and I did just that.
I resorted to be still, I had all but given up and decided I needed to spend some more time with the Lord and so over the next few days; I spent as much time as possible in His presence. I asked the Lord to see the sincerity of my heart and He who knew all things would show me where I had messed up and what I needed to do to change or come in line with His will for our lives. My friend, this is exactly what the Lord was waiting for, he needed to hear these words, it was my way of surrendering to His greater purpose. Even if I never saw it or knew what was about to happen, I was now willing to submit that I had failed and that He was my all in all. I have learnt and have experienced firsthand the compassion that comes from His heart. I never felt such a genuine and sincere love from anyone as I always have from my Father, it was a love I could never understand or ever replicate, but embraced and received willingly. The warmth of His heart directed towards me, made me realize how much Jesus loved me.
Today I am so confident in His remarkable love, that I can and will never doubt this truth. I have learnt to hold on to Jesus, realizing that He was the one who died for me, not man, and that it was far more important to me what he thought about me than what others had to say. Now that I had surrendered, I came to know this was my reasonable act of worship. The time had come for us to move on.