|Posted on October 15, 2010 at 8:35 PM|
Trust is not an easy path, but the destination is sweet.
To be honest, I have struggled a bit with letting go of a few luxuries in the name of missions. A big one this week is the decision to not put Teaghan into Prep at the lovely Christian school I taught at, because we simply cannot afford it with Pete studying full time next year. I am more at peace with letting things go now, but for a while the cost of missions was really stacking up and I was feeling a bit down.
I was recently asked a thought-provoking question which made me think long and hard about our missions journey: ”Do you think God still wants you to go feeling like this?” In the end, I was glad to have been asked that as it served to deepen my faith in God and my convictions for the path that Pete and I had decided before God to go on almost 10 years ago.
Faced with giants?
Pete and I recently did a kids talk on Numbers 13-14, when the Israelites are at the brink of entering The Promised Land. The Bible records that the Israelites sent 12 men to check out the land, 10 of them came back discouraged by what they saw - giants. On hearing this, the Israelites complained against God. Only two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, stood firm in their faith in God. Though it looked scary, they trusted that God would bring them victory against the giants. We read that because of the lack of trust of the other 10 spies, all of the Israelites except for Caleb and Joshua were forbidden to enter the Promise Land. The lesson is that we need to trust God even when things seem impossible. We need to trust that He is more powerful than our human abilities. When we don't, and we try to take things into our own hands, we make a mess of things.
When we are faced with The Impossible, it is easier to go down the path of least resistance - where you can see exactly what lies ahead, know exactly where you're going, and where you require less trust in the Almighty to lead you. Even though it may appear harder, going down the path of faith ultimately leads you to unexpected joys and pleasant surprises along the way, and the end is sweeter because you have walked the path with your Saviour.
As we were preparing the above Sunday school lesson, I couldn't help but think about what it means for us to go on missions. It is not an easy journey, with many uncertainties along the way (like where are we going to live next year?!). Are we going to grumble about giants or trust in God?
His power in our weakness
God definitely doesn’t want me to go ‘feeling like this’, that is why He is going all out in reassuring me that everything will work out according to his purposes to make me more like Christ! Just like a parent guiding a child, not all the lessons will be easy but some are necessary and for my good. God doesn’t want me feeling like this, so he’s promised to walk with me all the way to stand beside me as I tackle all the challenges that lay ahead. Wow, what a promise!
Leaving for missions is not easy, not even for those who are 'mission minded'. Missionaries aren't happy magical people who prance off to a foreign land singing happy songs with no fears or worries. Missionaries are simply people who have a passion for the lost and trusts in the God of all nations who is bigger than all their fears and worries.
We can choose to stay and avoid all the uncertainties that seem to surround our life at the moment, we can choose not to go because we worry about the unknown, but then we'll also never get to experience God's awesome power at work should I choose to go down the path of faith. For it is in our weakness, that his power is made perfect.
I was recently reminded in my weekly Mums Bible Study that to say: “I will not fear” as David in the Psalms did, is an act of will based on the truth of God. David does not say “I do not fear”. This lack of fear doesn’t just happen, it is a result of daily reminding yourself of God’s faithfulness and consciously saying: “Because of what I know of God, I WILL NOT fear”
God has been further reminding me of this idea of ‘faith through trials’ thru my personal devotions. In particular, these words from my devotional book in the past couple of months have been of encouragement to me. I hope they are to you too:
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; Is anything too difficult for me?” Jeremiah 23: 27
“I have learnt to be content in whatever circumstances I am... I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:11, 13
“Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you” God’s words to Paul in Acts 18:9-10
Suffering is a precious gift when viewed from an eternal perspective, because suffering not only proves our faith but is used of God to make us more like Jesus.
God does not want compliant resignation. When life is difficult, God wants us to have a faith that trusts and waits. He wants us to have a faith that doesn’t complain while waiting but rejoices because we know our times are in His hands – nail-scarred hands that labour for our highest good.
God proves himself again
Even as I write now, I can already see the way God is taking care of us because we chose to trust in Him with our future.
The day we decided not to enrol Teaghan at my old work, Pete was armed with the task of calling around preschools near Morling college where he will be studying and where we hope to be living. By the 2nd phone call, he had found a lovely Christian preschool 5 mins from college, which on that particular day had one vacancy come up for the days that we wanted for Teaghan for next year. They accepted our application over the phone. Perfect timing. Perfect provision. One uncertainty ticked off the list.
Today a nearby church contacted us (thanks to a friend who told them about us) to say that they are interested in renting our place for their youth pastor next year starting Jan, which is when we plan to move into college housing. Perfect timing. Perfect provision. Another uncertainty ticked!
Today Pete was accepted to study full time at Morling College next year. Tick!!
How sweet it is to trust in Jesus!!