Yep, that’s the name we earned. Mr. and Mrs. Flexibility were Raouf and Carol Ghattas after changing countries of service three times in a seven-week missionary training period.
Did I tell you I don’t like change?
I know — that’s life. It was definitely life in cross-cultural service and with an adventurous Egyptian-American man who couldn’t get enough of it. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes could have been his theme song, though he would have changed David Bowie’s lyrics for sure.
Back to the story: When we answered the call to service, we knew we would be in the Middle East. There was a need in Lebanon at the time, so that is where we thought we were headed. As we began our training, we were told of an opportunity to go into Syria, so I stopped studying about Lebanon and opened books on Syria (think pre-internet). That kept me going for a couple of weeks, but then the first Iraq war led to a flood of refugees moving into Turkey. Could we help?
“Be happy to,” my dear husband said. “What?” replied his wife. “They don’t even speak Arabic in Turkey!”
Books on Syria closed; books on Turkey opened. I was learning all about the meaning of a word that would follow me the rest of my life.
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?*
Who was I to question God’s direction? He had our future in his hands. He had called us to this work, and he could use whatever means necessary to put us in the right places at the right time. Whether it was a war, a refusal to renew a residency permit, organizational changes, or children’s schooling; when we remained flexible to his guidance, he blessed.
Do I like change now? No, not really, but I’ve come to realize that with change comes a freshness, excitement, and new ways of seeing God at work in my life and in the world.
He is the potter, I am the clay. May I always be malleable to his touch, because he knows what he’s doing.
How’s your flexibility? Don’t be afraid to let him stretch you and use you in new ways in service.
You’re in good hands.
Grace and Peace
Isaiah 29:16 (NIV)