Adie Leedahl stared out the window thinking, “What the heck have we done?”
It was a moment when reality hit hard. One of many such moments for Adie.
There was the one when Jon, the husband she wanted to follow anywhere, announced they’d be going to Papua New Guinea.
There was the one when she watched the steel shipping container slam shut around everything she owned.
There was the one when everywhere she looked people were a different color. . .smells were strange. . . rules had changed.
“What the heck have we done?” indeed. These were realities Adie and Jon chose.
And choosing those realities put them in place for the next one. One reality they wouldn’t have chosen. The one when Jon lost his leg in Ukarumpa. (You can see that story on video here.)
So what leads someone to choose those realities? And what drives Jon and Adie to work hard for the chance to go back? In an earlier post, I promised you Adie’s answers to these questions.
Short answer: Adie says it’s partly what they’ve received, partly what they want to give. For the full answer, read on.
Pain is Universal
“There is pain and struggle in life, small and great,” Adie reminds us. We can all agree with that.
So when pain comes to us, how do we choose to get through it? Adie chooses to cling to the rock she’s found trustworthy since her early years: “Without Jesus I would feel so lost, hopeless, and my future would be bleak. Why keep living? Why keep going? But Jesus has shown me that He is there for me.”
“When you don’t have the supernatural strength from God to get through something so life-altering and horrific, it is a lonely place,” Adie says. She knows of others who have gone into deep depression, suffered from anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and been wracked with agony following a trauma. She also knows her experience surpassed her own capability to deal with tragedy. With characteristic openness, she has shared that she and Jon relied on more than just their own willpower: “We could not have been able to handle this without God.”
One of the ways God supported Adie through the dark times after Jon’s accident was through His Word, the Bible. She found He personally comforted her through verses like this one:
Joy is a Hard Choice
Knowing God was present with her didn’t guarantee blissful happiness. Adie readily admits that she has often felt really blue. “We have felt confused, angry and sad at times. We are discovering we need God’s supernatural strength to be able to choose joy, choose to accept what He has allowed to happen, and choose to move forward.”
Once again, Jon and Adie had to make a choice about the reality they would pursue.
Adie goes on, “[Joy]’s a daily choice. It takes effort and thought. It takes lots of prayer. And we are seeing God is answering our prayers. He has given us peace that surpasses our understanding.
“We have seen God heal Jon, we’ve seen Him provide for our needs, we’ve seen God work through this tragedy to help us help others who are going through struggles. So even though we don’t fully understand the reason God took Jon’s leg, we have seen God is taking care of us and that makes us rejoice. We can see His deep love and care for us.”
Some Miracles Don’t Happen
If you’re like me, you have to wonder, wouldn’t it be easier to trust God if He had preserved Jon’s leg or repaired the damage miraculously?
When asked that question, Adie replies, “Sometimes we don’t fully understand why God didn’t give Jon his leg back, or didn’t save someone’s life. God sees things with an eternal perspective. He has given everyone a number of days and decides when He is going to bring someone home. He saw fit to take Jon’s leg, but God is using it to glorify Himself and bring others to come to know Him personally because of Jon’s decision to trust God no matter what.”
Another Kind of Miracle?
Not everyone would find that last statement a good enough reason to undergo tragedy.
For Adie and Jon, however, an opportunity for God to “glorify Himself” and for “others to come to know Him personally” is more than enough good to come from their trauma. Those things matter deeply to them. Those things are, after all, the reason why they went to Papua New Guinea in the first place.
They knew that many people there were living in fear, threatened by frequent tribal wars and captivated by sorcery and animism. In contrast, Jon and Adie lived in peace, hope, and joy, having come to know and trust Jesus Christ. They had found deep soul-satisfaction and they wanted others to come share that.
“Jesus loves everyone, forgives everyone who asks and wants all to come to know Him personally,” Adie explains. “The world is deteriorating and will one day end, but what happens after it ends? Where do we go? It says in the Bible if we believe in Him we will have eternal life in heaven. Jesus wants us to live with Him for all eternity.”
They Have Their Reasons
For Adie and Jon, the reason they follow Jesus is not for some promise of immunity from pain and trouble. It’s because they have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. They believe the best use of Jon’s pilot skill set is to fly into hard-to-reach areas, bringing the good news that could save people’s eternal lives to those least likely to have heard it.
Saving eternal lives is worth any cost they may pay, according to Adie. It’s the ultimate reality she has chosen to live by.
What reality have you chosen to live by?
Is it one you would pay any price for?
Share your thoughts below.