We all know it takes incredible faith to leave behind the comfortable and trek off into parts unknown to live the missionary life. To say goodbye to friends and family (maybe forever) and face strange cultures, weird food, unfamiliar lifestyles, and perhaps even fatal horrible disease. To spread the Gospel in hostile environments is not for the weak of heart or those with halting belief.
But sometimes it takes even greater faith to stay. To have a heart willing to be used by God and NOT be called to go. To submit and surrender every day, to cry out to Him to be used in great and mighty and everlasting ways, and be told that, “I love you and so I will use you right here.” But wait…I have a willing and submissive heart! I am willing to give up everything and go wherever You need me! Put me in, God! I’m ready! And still He says “No.” I always dreamed of Making A Difference. I always wanted to be a great writer or speaker, someone sought after for her great insight and intelligence, someone others looked to for encouragement and truth. But instead, I am a mom of grown children who are flourishing, and don’t get me wrong…I am more than grateful! But I am not needed (and often not wanted) in their lives right now. I live in a boring little town in a boring little neighborhood, and my days are full of mediocre tasks which have no eternal meaning for anyone..not even me. I don’t feel used or even useful and though I acknowledge that this may just be a season of rest, I fear the best of my days are going right down the old sinkhole. I’m strong, I’m prayed up, I know the Bible, I can teach and love and encourage and share….why am I not being used?
But you see, that’s the problem. I know it. I know I’m strong. I know I’m capable. God doesn’t use the already strong and able in extraordinary ways. How does He shine when He takes someone already so sure of herself and has her do something she knows she can do? Where’s God in that? That’s just me getting accolades for being me! No, in God’s economy, everything is backwards. He is strength in our weakness. He humbles the proud and elevates the humble. He uses the ones who know they can’t do it on their own and therefore have to rely on Him and the Glory goes rightly to Him.
As for ones like me? Well, I think we stay put. We survive (and possible thrive, but in very quiet ways) in our mediocre towns in our not-so-amazing jobs. We can’t be full of God because we’re already too full of ourselves! At least I am. At least right now. So my prayer will change. It won’t be “put me in God, I’m more than ready!” anymore. Instead it will be “Thank you Lord, for where You have me. Help me be humble. Help me accept my circumstances and shine Your Light where You have me, today. And help me further Your Kingdom in the way You would have me…Your agenda God, not mine.”