My life as a...missionary?
Much has been written about the missionary life. Often in more eloquently ways than I would likely be able to express. Those amazing experiences. People God brings into your life. The adventures that make for very funny stories.
But also there are those challenging moments. Unexpected disappointments. Missed experiences at home. Missed family.
Personally I can affirm that I love my adopted home. God brought a wonderful woman into my life here and I’ll always be incredibly thankful for that. She blesses my life every day and encourages me like no one ever has.
God has also given me great friends and a church family that I enjoy. He’s given me a ministry that I believe in and one that I think is making an impact in the world.
Let that word drag out for a moment. It did in my head.
Maybe it’s human nature to get frustrated and occasionally hit that wall. I’m sure it is. I see pictures of missionary friends on Facebook and hear their stories about how they were able to lead thirty surfers to Jesus on a beach somewhere and I think…whaaat?
Okay, I don’t have that many (if any) friends who are serving Jesus on a beach. But there’s no doubt that sometimes other people’s ministries look really appealing. I suppose it’s one of the downfalls of social media. We tend to share the highlights. Certainly I’m guilty of that. Of course, it tends to be difficult to frame that picture of your latest frustration just right.
This has proven to be a difficult week. The snapshot is…my health hasn’t been great…I’m tired…there’s a certain worldwide pandemic that’s proving to be very inconvenient. My truck is broken.
That last one may sound a bit silly, except that I just got that truck and now it doesn’t work. I have to keep pumping the gas to try to coax it up over twenty five km/h so that the broken brake sensor stops trying to make the truck stop in the middle of the road. It’s annoying and just one more thing I’m going to need to pay to have fixed.
Okay…it is a bit silly and sort of funny and it’ll make a good story eventually (really, you should see me pumping the gas like a crazy person and the truck speeding up and then slowing down and then speeding up and then slowing down…all the while I’m gripping the steering wheel and hoping that the guy behind me is paying attention and not about to run into me. Until finally I hit that magic number of 25 km/h and everything works normal, until I have to go around a corner or stop at a red light and then we start the whole process over again).
Huh…I guess it made a good story now. It seems I really can’t pass up the opportunity. And it does make me smile a little in the telling of it.
But it doesn’t change the fact that it feels like I’ve managed to smack into that wall again. These moments manage to bring out every insecurity I have.
I went from being a moderately successful youth pastor, to being…something else. Youth pastor? Ministry director? Life coach? Guidance counselor? Dad? The guy who asks why every flippin’ light in the house is on and for Pete’s sake, why can’t rooms be clean and chores be done when they’re supposed to be?
Yea, okay…that probably falls under the category of Dad, but still…
It feels like those plates are starting to wobble a little. I can’t quite seem to figure out how to keep them all spinning like they should. We work with an amazing group of young men, but sometimes I think I want what’s best for them, more than they want that for themselves. Then all my questions and inadequacies start banging around in my head as to why that is.
Surely there’s a beach ministry somewhere that needs a…ahem…middle aged, bald guy?
Fortunately, I have a personal motto that has served me well over the years that I fall back on in these moments.
It’s never the end of the story. I know that in the midst of my angst and questions and frustrations, God continues to do the work He started long before I came into the picture.
“…He who began a good work in you…”
Paul was maybe more confident in that than I feel some days. At least he said he was. Maybe he wasn’t. We all have good moments and bad and I’m sure he was no different.
“…will see it through…”
I do believe that God will see us…me…through this. God didn’t begin all of this just to walk away now. In the end, it’s the Holy Spirit who opens minds and heals hearts and all we can do is be instruments of that.
Certainly it’s not easy and that beach ministry looks appealing some days. Today in fact.
But God also promises us, by way of Jeremiah, that His love never ceases and His mercies are new ever morning.
“…great is Your faithfulness…”
So...tomorrow is a new day. With new mercies. And God will continue the work He started. And He is faithful. I don’t know about you, but I find all of that very encouraging.
Thanks everyone. That was very therapeutic. I appreciate you listening. Let me know if I can ever return the favour.
Also…feel free to pray. It’s always appreciated.
PS The dog picture has (mostly) nothing to do with anything. It's just a cool picture of our dog.