They say our first year in country will strip us to the core. Change us. Grow us. They say we will most likely have an affront right out of the gates. A strong statement of clear enemy lines. This world is not our home. And there is a ruler of this world that we are directly confronting with the Gospel. No, I’m not talking about some over-used, powerlessly diminished concept of evil celebrated in haunted houses and horror films. I’m talking about spiritual warfare and it’s source.
So often it’s easier to run from deep growth in the Lord. As if he’s not a Good Father. A Good Father who knows best in our lives. As if deep growth doesn’t come from really challenging situations.
Really challenging affronts.
Pressure producing change.
Honestly, I am really intimidated by what I will see and experience on the field. How can you watch brothers and sisters struggling so much on a daily basis when you’ve been accustomed to never seeing it? What happens when the Body takes on names and identities instead of just distant statistics confined to hard regions of poverty? What happens when we accept that they are family, your family who is hurting and suffering? Won’t it just rip your heart out of your chest? What about when the struggling turns inward? A tornado of emotions hit with all these swirling thoughts of suffering and cost.
I think on my preciously dear friends who were on the field for just a few short months when their baby got a 106 degree fever and was hospitalized for six days. There was a lot of fear. Long hours without answers. A lot of chaos. A lot of hurt. A lot of suffering. A lot of unknowns.
Part of me wants to shield my kids from that kind of attack. Part of me realizes that I don’t have that kind of power. It’s humbling to realize you don’t have that kind of control. I cannot save my kids from illness and pain. Part of me feels my stomach tighten at such sacrifices. Such hurts. Such attacks. And then I remember the preparation words uttered at orientation: it’s normal. And even expected for those entering the field.
A strong statement of clear enemy lines.
The test has been drawn up. And I am unqualified.
Those words breaking through my thoughts and fears. Those words piercing through text after text of Scripture to shed light right in the middle of the darkest realities.
The relief those words bring.
We are not alone.
We fight not on our own behalf. BUT GOD!
I don’t know what His response will be, but I can most certainly rest assured, taking confidence in Him alone, that He will have a response to the affront! Whatever may come to us on the field; whatever suffering and cost and challenge and pressure – BUT GOD will show Himself mightily.
Dear ones, God was there on days one through five as the family cried over their sick toddler in the hospital. There was the sacrifice of the pain for five days of unknown. But it was only unknown to us. Nothing was unknown to our Lord.
See sometimes I focus too much on the first five days. I get lost in the sacrifice and the pain and the hurt forgetting that that is only the first part of the story- and not even the best part! BUT GOD, our Sender, our Father who longs to draw His children to Himself – GOD steps in! Now I’m not implying that He always works in the ways we ask. No, His ways are Higher. We can’t even think that High, His ways are SO MUCH Higher than our ways.
Do I trust Him? How about in the middle of the hospital room when they put yet another IV into that poor little baby’s arm, knowing it will cause her suffering? Do I trust that BUT GOD is going to happen? How about when her sister falls ill with the same symptoms?
Lord, increase my faith! (Luke 17:5) Help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24) Teach me to hang my every hope on your entrance into the suffering You have called us to.
Lord, that we may suffer well when it is our turn.
That Your Name would be declared among all the nations
for the GLORY of You and YOU. ALONE.!