Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Romanticizing the Field

In less than a month, in fact, to be specific, June 26th, I am scheduled to travel halfway around the world with only a few bags, land in Africa, and begin a journey so far out of my comfort zone that a blog post seems comical in expressing it. I will have had almost a year to plan, pray and prepare for what lies ahead. Yet, to be honest with you, I couldn't feel more unprepared. Let me be clear before I proceed, I know God is my strength, my refuge, a very present help, and will never leave nor forsake me. I will not back down, give up, turn back or any other profound phrase I can conjure up. But, I am human. A friend reminded me last night that to not have fear would be supernatural and God uses the natural (that would be me) to do the supernatural.

I am a fixer. Problem equals fix. There's always a solution, right? Perhaps that may be true on some level, whether that be a literal or a spiritual fix. However, it can also be unhealthy and I freely and publicly admit it. Some things don't require fixing, they don't involve quick solutions, they require time spent with God, as well as discipline; disciplines of transforming our minds and hearts from old to new. So, to remove my fear simply by saying, take my fear, and believe it is gone and will not return, is not a real solution. As I was also reminded last night by my gracious friend, we can look at our bag of problems, fears, etc., and say "Jesus, take this," but often He says, no, let's take it together. Could He take it? Absolutely. But the process of refining, taking out our trash, is more important in the long run, and He is far more interested in our holiness than He is our happiness. Some see that as harsh. To be sure, I don't take pleasure in the fiery furnace. However, I know many parents and have listened to them say, time and again, it is better to allow your child to fail and learn from their failures, than to fix it yourself. God is no different. He invented parenting.

With the days winding down, I often hear "I am so excited for you!" "You must be so thrilled!" "It is going to be amazing!" Truth? While I love God with all of my heart and soul, while I love the people of Africa, while my deepest desires surround the Gospel and making a difference in the lives of those in desperate circumstances, I am not excited. Why? Consider a soldier during World War I, II, or any other battle throughout our history. In the days before he was to leave, upon hearing "you must be excited," how do you think he would have responded? No, I am not excited. My heart is heavy, very. My heart is broken, because I know, as much as one can know, there is nothing exciting about a soldier heading out to war and equally there is nothing romantic about the mission field. There is nothing romantic about about seeing children sleep huddled up in the corners and crevices of some of the filthiest and darkest of places. There is nothing exciting about disease, starvation and death that could be alleviated with just a few dollars. There is absolutely nothing beautiful about girls being sold into prostitution and slavery before they can form sentences or even hit puberty. Nothing romantic at all. But, I believe there is hope.

While I don't pretend to understand how soldiers feel having walked in some of the most grueling battlefields of past wars, I believe they saw their purpose, just as I see a purpose in what I am about to do. I am trying as best as any soldier, to prepare for the battle that lies ahead. Where I lack in excitement, I make up in faith, and that is what it is all about for us who Believe, faith. I have faith that we can, by the grace and only by the grace of God, make a difference in this world. I have faith that my God had some reason for choosing someone as unlikely as me, to be a part of what He is doing in Africa. Above all and most importantly, as a woman of faith, I believe that the death of Jesus was and will always be, more than enough reason for me to go. So, with my face planted on the ground, my heart set on things above, I am facing my fears, and trusting that He who has said "go... and I will be with you always and til the end of age (Matthew 28: 19-20, paraphrased) will guide my every step. With that in mind, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thanks for posting. I feel so similar in this journey with you! I soooo appreciate your honesty, your tender heart, your love for the Lord and anything He puts in your path, etc, etc. Praying for you as you come into the home stretch!


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