“What in the world are we doing!? Whoa… slow down… pump the brakes!” This is a line Katie and I often find ourselves thinking as we continue to come closer and closer to our departure from the U.S. “Why would we want to go over there? It’s so much easier to live in America. We have friends here, and family. I don’t want to go to a place that doesn’t have internet.” These are all thoughts that attempt to ram us off the course of full time missions.
As Katie and I have continued in our training we have asked the Lord to mold us into the people that we need to be in order to survive and thrive on the field of Papua New Guinea. As we have lifted this prayer before Him, we have been challenged with the thought of just how much sacrifice the job calls for: leaving family and friends behind, leaving much comfort behind, becoming outsiders, having to learn a new language and culture, etc. When we dwell on these things, Katie and I can begin to falter in our resolve for following the Lord overseas. But God has been faithful and has answered our prayer for molding.
As we have found ourselves buckling under the fears of moving overseas, God has challenged us to see missions from a different perspective. One of my favorite Bible passages comes from Joshua 10. In this chapter Joshua and the Israelites are called upon to defend the Gibeonites from invading armies. The Israelites come to their aid, and as the enemy is being pursued, the Lord throws down giant hailstones to kill the would be invaders. After this discourse there is an interesting line that says, “There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.” What a funny little line. It gets me wondering about why God included the Israelites at all. Certainly the Lord did not need Joshua and his army to conquer the Promised Land. God could have just dumped hail stones on the entire land of Canaan and conquered all by Himself. Come to think of it, God did not need Adam and Eve, or Abraham, or Moses, or the disciples. He does not need any of us.
So why does He choose to include us? Why do we get to play a role in the story? The reason is because God loves us. He loves us so much that He includes us in His master plan. Just think: Is it not better to be playing on the field than to be sitting on the sidelines. What player of any sport was ever satisfied just to ride the bench? God puts us in the game, and we get the privilege of playing a role in how God is reconciling the world back to Himself. Wow! A privilege! It’s not just sacrifice. It’s a privilege!
This is how God has been challenging us to view missions. It’s not something we have to do, it’s something we get to do. Thank you Lord that we get to be a part of your master plan.