Isn’t it funny how seemingly small things can jar us into a real tailspin of fear? Sometimes HUGE daunting things are pretty easy to keep on the backburner simply because they are too mammoth to wrap your brain around. As if we think “yes, that will probably be scary. Good thing it’s a long way off.” But as that thing gets nearer and nearer to you, a single word like “immunization” or “Visas” will light your fear up like a match to gasoline. The phenomenon of a distant reality becoming tangible and practical can be terrifying for me.
As many of our family members and friends know, Sam and I are leaving in September to live as short-term missionaries in Chad (North-Central Africa) for a year. Yesterday we got our “country specific information” in our inboxes. We read through pages and pages of “to-do’s” for before we leave for our new (temporary) home. Many of these to-do’s had to do with preventing disease before we arrive and cultural taboos after we arrive. As I read page after page of what needs to be accomplished, a deep dark sense of terror landed on me.
“I can’t handle this.”
“What are the side effects of THIS shot?”
“What do they mean I can’t hold Sam’s hand in public? I can’t even eat with him?? For a whole YEAR?!”
To be totally honest, as deeply scary as these different tasks and cultural regulations are to me, they would not be the most difficult things to handle. But that is not all there is to mission. Without a doubt, my biggest fear about leaving to go so far away for so long is am I even going to be of any use? I can’t emphasize greatly enough how terrified I am of going to the mission field unprepared and unfit for the task. What if I waste this time? What if I waste (heaven forbid) other people’s money?
Sam and I love Paul Washer. A missionary\pastor and a godly man. While watching one of his sermons on YouTube last night, he uttered some words that totally rocked me:
“People do not need your life…and they do not need your zeal…and they do not need all your well-meaning endeavor. Don’t go to the mission field, unless when you go there you can open your mouth and instruct them in the things of God.”
This is my biggest doubt–that I will actually be able to lead the lost to a God that they do not know. That I will be able to instruct them in the way by which they may know Him. I do not even know Him as well as I might, or as well as I ought. What right do I have to place myself in the position of leadership for others?
This is my fear; my deadly iceberg lurking beneath the calm, confident surface.You, no doubt, are dealing with your own. Loved one, as children of our loving Father, how do we live with this? How do we press on in the face of debilitating fear?
There is another quote from Paul Washer that has left a lasting impression on me. This is a rough paraphrase, but it carries the same impact:
“Slaves don’t have much to worry about.”
If you identify yourself as a SLAVE TO CHRIST, you have nothing to concern yourself with. He is a perfect Master. A kind Master. A loving Master. A Master Who knows “when you sit down and when you rise up” and “understands your thoughts from afar” Ps 139. Not to mention, He owns all of creation. There is nothing that exists that doesn’t lie under His reign and His dominion. All things belong to Him. He holds the keys to death and hell. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. If you have submitted yourself to Him as a slave, then it is His responsibility and His ALONE, to care for you and provide for your needs.
THIS sheds light in my darkness. THIS brings me hope.
I don’t have to know the details.
I don’t have to know how this will turn out.
If God has called me to this task, I’m going to trust that He is GOOD, that He is FOR me, and that He will surely fulfill what He has ordained, and provide what is needed to complete it.
All you and I have to do is trust and obey.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32