Sunday, June 8, 2014
As I write this post, I’m sitting in my London hotel room about half way through our mission trip. I dreaded this trip to London. There, I said it. I knew I felt God’s tug to come. Yet, working out the details to actually make it happen is like an advanced game of Sudoku (especially because Jared & I both came). I wrestled with dread until the time I got on the plane. It would have been easier to stay at home. I’ve already been to London, and though a beautiful and historic city, it had already been checked off my non-existent bucket list.
So, what was my problem, who doesn’t want to go to London on a mission trip? My problem is the resistance from the Enemy that becomes an expected part of a mission trip. Understand, spiritual warfare can be part of our daily lives but left unrecognized. However, when we step out of our familiar environment with a single-minded purpose to impact the Kingdom, the scales fall off our spiritual eyes and we see the attack that is intended to distract and hinder. It makes sense, really…a believer spends money, gives up vacation, and jumps through logistical hoops with the sole purpose of sharing Jesus, the spiritual realm gets to buzzing.
Anyone that travels overseas with such a specific purpose, might share with you their experience of similar resistance. One hiccup after another and you feel war-torn before you ever leave the local airport. Then, why go? Why deal with the headache, make the sacrifice, surrender your sleep and comfort? I can’t answer for everyone but I can tell you for me…the answer is one word. Obedience. My obedience is brought on by a great love relationship I have with God. What I have through Jesus is worth sharing. Before Jesus ascended into heaven His command was to make disciples of all nations. For me, that means I go. I don’t go all the time. A good bit of my time is spent making disciples where I live, but for this trip, it meant I came.
Obedience can, at first, seem like drudgery. “Okay, fine, I’ll go.” (And there might have been some drudgery on my part at times.) Thankfully, however, God patiently smiles when despite my misgivings, I obey anyway. He smiles because He knows what is ahead. He knows the transformation He has planned for my heart and His Kingdom. He takes me to a foreign land to remind me that He is God of all nations. He can handle my frustrations and hardships here and at home. He hasn’t forgotten me just as He hasn’t forgotten the small church in East London that was close to closing their doors. He sent us to paint their kitchen and stand next to them singing songs of praise. He is El Roi, the God who sees.
He reminds me of His Spirit’s presence as I walk down unfamiliar streets. He gives me eyes to see the crowds harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. He allows me time away to get the perspective I need to go back to the mission field of my daily life. He has sent me to be strengthened and reminded of His great love.
I’m not going to suggest obedience is easy even after you step out in faith. The resistance doesn’t cease but the warrior is strengthened and reminded of her status as heir and princess to the throne.
Question: What specific act of obedience are you resisting because it is inconvenient or hard? Will you trust God to shape your character through your compliance to His will?