by Marjorie Truesdale

I had my summer schedule all planned out. While my husband would be out of town taking an intensive course, I was going to spend hours tackling clutter and long overdue cleaning in the house. I had been thinking of teaching a summer Bible study. Plans had been made to spend several days with one of our daughters and her children in Branson.

Then came the unbelievable news that Joplin had been hit with the worse tornado recorded in the U.S. Three days later I was arriving to teach a seminar on Facing Your Fears (topic planned three months earlier) tornado sirens screamed at us to take cover here in Kansas City. It was a week of tension, choosing to affirm that God IS in control, and telling myself as well as Him, that I trusted Him.

The following Sunday, I was totally unprepared for a clear plan in my head; it HAD to be God's because it certainly wasn't mine. It was:
        "Put together a night of repentance, praise, and a concert of prayer for Joplin."
        "Take up an offering for Joplin and give it through Samaritan's Purse."
        "Plan for a location at no expense that will hold at least 1,000 people!"

My first reaction was "You have got to be kidding!" I didn't remind God of all my other plans that were so important to me, but I did say "I'm too old for this. Who am I to ask 1,000 people to repent? Besides I am a woman."

Silence! I recently looked back on that journal entry and noted that my reading that day included Psalm 14 and I had repeated part of verse 5 from The Living "God is with those who obey Him."

As I struggled with my thoughts over the next few days, 80 year old Moses arrived on my mental horizon. Then I read a short devotional about Jonah. God had my attention. I was sliding into a "yes" response but not until I asked God for a confirmation that this was His plan and not mine; the availability of a partnership with a local Christian radio station. He confirmed two weeks later. (We were given a gift of $1,500 for advertising!) "And one more thing God, I will look very foolish planning for 1,000 people if no one shows up." His response: "I didn't ask you to get the people there, I only asked you to be obedient."

I am so committed to this plan; I have sensed that this project, other than the training of our children and grandchildren, is the fulfillment of Ephesians 2:10 NLT "For we are Godís masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." Like David, who knew he had been anointed to be king, here have been encounters with the enemy plots against me. But there are three women who have risen to their feet in the Heavenly Grandstand (Hebrews 12:1) Deborah, Esther, and Corrie ten Boom, as well as my own mother and father. And they are cheering me on. On June 14 I read from Psalm 56:13 "You delivered me from death,* and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before You" . . . "for such a time as this." Esther 4:14

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* In 1986, I was receiving heavy doses of chemotherapy, following surgery for stage 3 cancer. A serious infection put me in the hospital for emergency surgery. Later the surgeon's comments were "I was afraid we had already lost you."

Reflections of a Grateful Disciple

The Concert of Prayer & Worship was held on July 29. And it was in a building that would hold 1,000 people!

Preparation for the Concert of Prayer & Worship was a two-month journey of listening to God and then choosing to carryout His plan. Yes, we received a good offering. Yes, there were lots of people from many churches in the area who attended. Yes, there were significant times of prayer and incredible worship. I recorded in my journal "This was on His calendar before the beginning of time. All the praise and worship tonight will continue through all eternity.Ē

In my own remarks that night, I commented "the lives of those who live in Joplin will never be the same after the tornado hit on May 22; and I pray that my life will never return to the same after tonight." I have changed my name from Reluctant to Grateful. Why was that? Because God has taught me, during the preparation, lessons I never want to forget. He asked me . . .
1. Who was I to say I was too old when He says "But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lordís own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.Ē Psalm 92:12-14
2. Why did I try to get out of asking others to call His people to repentance when He had specifically asked me to do that? Again the reminder from Psalm 14:5 "God is with those who obey Him."Am I really truthful when I sing I surrender all? Was I really willing to give up my summer plans to orchestrate an event for Him? Issues of pride and wanting my own way were areas He was really asking me to surrender.

As I choose to agree with His plan, I knew I needed to peel back even more things from the schedule so I could spend significant time with Him. It was during those quiet early morning hours, often I worshipped with a favorite CD by Bonnie Knopf (our recommended ministry link this month) that I began to learn on a deeper level what He meant in Romans 2:2 "let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know Godís will for you . . ." If no one else came to His event, I was preparing to be before the King, an audience of One.

As I conluded my call to repentance, the music chosen by our worship leader brought me to my feet . . .

My heart's one desire
is to be holy,
set apart for You, Lord,
ready to do Your will.

It didn't matter to me if I was the only one standing (and I may have been). I have started to learn Galatians 1:10b "If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christís servant." And yes, I did ask Him the next day "Why did You want us to plan for 1,000 when there were have had only one third of that number. I felt He said "It was all about the place where it was to be held."

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You might be interested in reading my brief biography called Route 66 on our website. It is at the end of the article "I Didn't Want To Be A Pastor's Wife".