If you asked me why we have chosen to live where we live and do what we do I might not give you an answer that you are expecting. Though I don’t actually know what you are expecting to hear. Still, I often get the impression that people think missionaries are these talented type individuals who are not afraid to step boldly forward into unknown places to share truth. Or they are thrillseekers.
If you could see the wry grin on my face as I write these words, you might have a hint as to how completely off the mark I believe those impressions to be…in our case anyway.
We didn’t come here because we had an overabundance of talents that we felt would just bless everyone around us. In fact, Michael and I often look at each other and wonder what exactly God had in mind in all of this, because normally we feel extremely underqualified for what we are doing.
We, or at least I, am fearful about many, many, many things. Stepping boldly anywhere definitely lands in the “afraid to do this” category for me.
And anyone who knows me will just laugh at the idea of my being a thrill seeker. No. Just no. Give me a comfortable couch, a book and some quiet and I will be perfectly content far longer than I should be. If I need to change things up, a super uneventful walk in the woods is more than enough excitement for me.
So why are we here then? Simple. God has led us here. He made it clear that this is where He wants us and so we obeyed. This reality has carried us through many ups and downs since we first came to West Africa. This sustains us when we are in the middle of the hard stuff and the doubts set in. He led us here and by the same token, He keeps us here.
There is an incredible amount of freedom in realizing that God is not relying on me and my skill set in order to show people His love. He invites me into this amazing thing that He’s doing (which is mind blowing if I sit down and think about it), but His purposes in this world do not hinge on me and my abilities.
The thing is, we sometimes hear well meaning comments like, “I could never do what you are doing.” That’s kind of true, and kind of not. Realistically speaking, I don’t feel most of the time that I can do what we are doing. So it’s a good thing that God continues to work in and through me. Also, I really believe that if God asks someone to do something, and they obey, then He will give them what they need to do it. So we can’t, and we can. I can’t, and I can. Not I but Christ.
As I think over just our first few months back in our third term overseas I just have to laugh. If we had any lingering illusions that we were some sort of rock star missionaries (we didn’t), they wouldn’t have lasted long.
Do you know what we bring to the table? Our weak, broken-vesseled obedience. That’s literally pretty much all we can manage, and even that is a struggle. The beauty though, in how God works, is that the obedience is enough! He provides, He leads, He guides, He comforts, He encourages, He works on people’s hearts, He gives opportunities, He opens doors, He loves and He gives love when ours has dried up.
He takes our weakness and gives us strength. He takes our fear and gives peace when we rest in Him. He takes our tears and comforts us in our sorrows. He takes our confusion and gives wisdom as we fix our eyes on Him and seek Him.
That’s why we are here. He led. We obeyed. Not because we are any kind of amazing. Because He is, and because the very least He deserves is our willing obedience.
2 Cor. 5:14,15 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”