If I’m honest…right here…right now…I feel incredibly weak.
I came home expecting to find rest from the closing of our last season in New Zealand, reflection of the wonderful years we spent there, preparation for the season ahead. Things rarely look in real life the way we envision them in our heads.
The Lord has been kind to me these last few months, but it has looked so very different than I first expected.
You see, we are about to transition into a nation that has so much historic richness and darkness than any nation that I have ever lived in. A nation that has embraced a dark and ancient religion. We don’t speak the native tongue. We embrace a religion that is threatening to their beliefs and should they choose to follow, their lives. For lack of a better word, we are entering into an environment that is relatively intense.
So with that being said, the Lord has been kind to me during this season by exposing my weakness. Putting it on display for me to see how truly lost I am without Him. Some of you may look at those of us that are going and want to put us onto some kind of “hero” pedestal. Please don’t. The truth is, we are just like every other human being on the planet. We have aches and longing for comfort and satisfaction and entertainment. We get bored, angry, impatient, sad, annoyed, lazy, and sloppy. We find ourselves struggling – “not doing the things we want to do and instead doing the things we hate”. Just because we are getting on a plane in 3 ½ weeks does not exempt us from being human and having human weaknesses. They are there and they are raging, I assure you.
And it seems to me that the kindest thing that He could do for me this season was reveal to me how much I desperately need Him. To knock me off my high horse and remind me that He doesn’t need me to do a thing. If He wanted to, He could peal back the sky and flash His glory for every eye to see in the Middle East and He could do it without me so much as blinking my eyelids. It’s so very helpful to be reminded of that before I fly off on my jet plane thinking I’m going to save the world. How lucky the Middle East is to have me! Me with all my fine gifts and talents to offer them!
Oh how kind He is to remind me that man is but dust, and the nations…they’re but a drop in a bucket. How kind He is to remind me that “The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers.”
I remember being put in my place on my internship at the Tauranga House of Prayer as I read “The Self-Sufficiency of God” chapter in A.W. Tozer’s book “Knowledge of the Holy”.
“Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his listeners, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of. Add to this a certain degree of commendable idealism and a fair amount of compassion for the underprivileged and you have the true drive behind much Christian activity today.”
I don’t want to enter this precious Nation in whom the Lord desires and think that I somehow am going to turn their hearts towards Him. The thought of that just makes me sick. No, I go because He is BIG and POWERFUL and has in His perfect wisdom set it in place that when we open our mouths, even in our weakness and frailty, He releases power and we begin to see demons flee, sickness cursed and dried up and the most exciting of the three – souls being saved from eternal damnation and given life abundantly.
We go because obedience is better than sacrifice.
What we do wrong a lot is we elevate sacrifice higher than obedience. We say “Look at all they have given up! How selfless! How honorable! How noble!” and what we need to be saying is “Look at the One who gave it all! How selfless! How honorable! How noble! How holy! Let us follow the Lamb in the way that He has modeled for us and let us now pick up our cross and follow Him!” We are not doing anything that hasn’t been done tragically, beautifully and perfectly before. And it’s that very same event that empowers us, us who are riddled with selfishness, pride, and lust for the things of this world, to shake off the filth and embrace His righteousness that we might shine like stars in this wicked and depraved generation.
We’re simply following Him. He’s already done it for us. Paved the way before us. We’re just doing what He did. Nothing original – we’re copy cats. And there is no greater cat to copy then the Lion who became a Lamb.