A sensible person sees danger and takes cover; the inexperienced keep going and are punished.  Christian Standard Bible (Prov. 27:12). (2020). Holman Bible Publishers.

Surely, some people are born more sensible than others, or so it seems. However, for most of us, myself included, we usually learn to be sensible over the course of our lives by the many things that life has to teach us. As one of our directors in missions has often said, "education is expensive." BTW, I don't think he was talking about the actual, monetary cost! Because of this, we will often have the choice of either running headlong into trouble and learning from our own mistakes, if that's how life works out, or, on other occasions, we will have the choice to listen first and to learn from others without having to make the mistakes ourselves and then to pay for them later. This is a story about the latter situation.

When Amy and I were first married, she was already a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators and I was in the process of joining. She had already been to French school, but I was still deciding where to go, where to serve, and what was a good fit for me in the organization. Of course, being married, we needed to sort these things out together. This meant that she would have to slow down and make many of these decisions all over again, while I would have to get my act together and figure out, by prayer of course, where the Lord would have us to serve together. She had already studied French and was ready to serve in a French-speaking, W. African country. I had no such training, but I was open to that possibility. What to do?

As we were working through the many possibilities, the right "fit," and who we were in God's larger picture of missions, I met a guy (I don't even remember who it was!), and he encouraged us to make this decision together, seeking a new place to go, and not to return to where Amy had been assigned. Of course, this didn't sit very well with Amy, at least not at first. His counsel centered on the idea that, if I were to go with Amy to where she had been assigned without having a strong sense of calling myself, I might eventually feel like it was not a decision that I had made or been a part of, and I could even resent her for it later. As hard as it was for Amy to hear this, we decided to serve in Niger, a French-speaking country that she had not previously considered. All of the factors that influenced our decision were a fit for both of us, together, and not just for her, as it were.

Fast forward about 5-6 years from that time, we found ourselves there in W. Africa, working in Bible Translation and in other areas, just as we had trained. Interestingly, there was another Wycliffe couple there, serving as we were, but not having much success with the difficulties of life living in a developing country and in an evolving work situation. To make a long story short, the wife of this couple had a strong calling on her life to serve in this country from an early age, but the husband did not. It is unreal and a bit surreal to me how similar their situation was to ours! Although the husband was willing to live and work where his wife had felt a calling, when the situation became difficult, he found that his desire and commitment to the work there to be lacking. They ended up leaving the country, the work, and the mission. It was an extremely difficult time for them, as it was for us and our colleagues, and I personally felt like I had been given "a gift of wisdom" from the Lord about this situation.

Although the verse for today is not an exact match to the situation I have described, I am forever grateful to the Lord for sending someone to share with me the importance of making a good decision in this regard, a decision I made with my wife and not just for my wife or to appease my wife. I am thankful that we have been spared having to learn this "the hard way." It was not easy for Amy at the time, but it was what was best for us, together. I am also sorry for the other couple and the pain that their decision had left them in. I honestly don't know how they are getting along these many years later. Hopefully they have a story of God's faithfulness and grace, despite the difficulties of this particular situation. To conclude, and following the counsel of this verse above, I would encourage all of us to listen to the wise counsel we receive from others so that we don't have to learn everything in life by making all the mistakes ourselves. In fact, may God bless you richly in the many things you have learned by the wisdom of others!

by Eric Fields, Elder 

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