Having sent out an application this past weekend to volunteer with missionaries overseas, I’m reflecting on the internal conflict that warred within me.
Although I was excited about the thought volunteering overseas once again and grew more certain in my mind that I wished to pursue this opportunity, I can not deny that I was afraid.
Not about going, but about trusting God.
I have never been one who easily trusts. Trust is scary. It’s admitting that there are some things you aren’t in control of and choosing to let someone else take care of those things. For someone like me – a control freak who wants to know the next ten steps ahead of time – trusting (and waiting) is frustrating.
How am I going to raise the funds I need in order to go? What happens if I can’t sublet my apartment? What if, after all the preparations and getting rid of or selling everything I can’t bring with me, plans fall through and I end up not going? Where will I live then? What about taking care of anything that may come up while I’m overseas?
On and on and on…
It is so easy for me to let myself get caught up in all the “what if’s” and give up because I’ve overwhelmed myself with an enormous imaginary burden: the potential situation where every single thing goes wrong – as if there’s a bomb right in the center of my goal, just waiting to explode when I’m almost there. It is so easy at this point to simply dump all my plans right then and there, to quit before I even begin to try.
Because I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of being looked down on as a failure.
I’m afraid of what everyone would think if I went through all the plans and motions to do something, and then everything falls apart last minute.
I’m afraid of being stuck, with no options; of feeling lost and abandoned.
Ultimately, I’m afraid of the unknown.
This is the place where we truly learn what trust is. One of my favorite and most referenced passages of Scriptures is from the Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, not about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But is God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not more more clothe you, O you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:25-30 (emphasis mine)
I do not know the specifics of what God has in store for me. There will always be unknowns in my life, areas and circumstances that I will struggle with wanting to know with certainty what is happening and which next step to take. I’m tempted to think that my personal knowledge of my future is the best thing.
But instead of granting me my wishes, God gives me something of infinitely more value: He allows circumstances in my life where I learn to trust and depend on Him.
I know that, regardless of what I may be tempted to believe, God will take care and provide for all I need. He takes care of the birds and flowers and even the worms – won’t He also take care of me, a worthless woman He calls His beloved daughter, one of whom He died to redeem? Would He truly ever leave me, when He tells me He loves me and promises to never abandon?
Does it mean I won’t have hardships in life? That I don’t need to make careful, thought-through decisions? That everything will be easy or perfect? That I’ll never go hungry? That I’ll always have the things I think I need? That I’ll always have at least one true friend? That “everything will be okay” according to my standards?
No. But what this does mean is that my God will always be with me and never abandon me. Even when I am scared to death of what my life is looking like – or what it may look like – I know my God goes before me. He is in control, and He is sovereign. He desires that I ask of Him in faith as a child who believes that “his daddy can do anything”.
And this is it. I know that my Heavenly Father can do anything. I have no reason to be afraid to leave the unknown future to the known God – I can trust every part of my life to the loving, good hands of my Lord and Saviour, my God.
What a good, good Father I have.