Read His Words Before Ours!
It’s been said a lot: “The first step is the hardest.” But, let’s consider step 20,000 or 100,000 or even 56,239,168. Each step can have joy, victory, challenge, disappointment, pain, or even failure. Pour your favorite cup, and I’ll share some of my missionary steps with you.
It’s hard to pick exactly when the Lord started leading my heart to love missions. I always enjoyed hearing about people in far away places sharing Jesus with people, but it was always in a jungle or in a hut. I am definitely not that person! Slowly, I started learning how to share my faith with others and what a difference it made in my life to have the hope of salvation. When I sang songs in church about the nations, my heart remembered all those people in far away places that had never heard his name. I thought, maybe, this was something the Lord wanted me to do.
But, I had this picture in my head of what it was to be a missionary, and I did not fit that picture. I was not one of those single women who could go live in a hut or the jungle or brave it all alone away from my family. I prayed and prayed for a husband that would love missions, but he never appeared. As I felt the despair creeping into my life, I found myself one night on my knees crying out to the Lord, “My life is in your hands. Please, Lord, I want to know You more.” It was a turning point in my life as I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, the Lord had a different plan than I thought.
“I’ve been praying about who to ask to go on this mission trip, and I would like to invite you to go.” I was shocked. I had been receiving a prayer newsletter from one of the young women in my Bible study class who had moved overseas. I had been praying for her, responding to her emails, and at times, I wondered what her life was like. I wish I had hours to explain all the reasons why saying yes to this trip was such a leap of faith, but it was my first trip to one of those far away places where no one knew Jesus. I could not speak the language, everything seemed so strange, and yet, everyone was so human. My heart broke. I wanted them to know the same Hope I knew. “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of who they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14)
I knew what the Lord wanted me to do, and I took that huge faith step of obedience. Looking back, it makes me smile. He knew what He was doing, although I wasn’t sure at all! I got on that plane not knowing how hard it would be, if I would like the food, if I could learn the language, if I would make new friends or if I would miss my family back in the US too much. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) He did not ask me to live in a hut or to be some kind of missionary that I could not be. My most enjoyable days were spent talking to people about life, culture, and Jesus – it felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Even many years later, at times when I step on a plane to go back overseas from the US, I ask myself questions like:
Will I get over this feeling of loneliness?
Will I be able to make new friends who want to learn more about Jesus?
Will the Lord go with me?
Is this where I’m supposed to be?
And, the Lord faithfully leads one step at a time.
The hardest step is always the next one you have to take in faith. As we start this next year, what step is the Lord asking you to take? What will be your response?
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.” Psalm 37:23
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!