It was my first time to leave my country. My first time to fly over the ocean. My first time to be away from home for longer than a couple of days. It was my first mission trip. And I was terrified.
In 2016 I spent a month in the Philippines. My younger sister and I went with a family we know well. I made the decision to go months before, but as the day got closer I was facing a lot of fear. I was lying awake at night, dreaming of the plane crashing, and doubting God wanted me to go. At one point I prayed “Lord, don’t let me go. Make something happen so that my passport won’t work or something. I can’t do this. I can’t leave my family.” My mom prayed with me the night before and my fear melted away, but the next morning it was back again. I was sick from fear the entire 24-hour travel time to the Philippines. It was miserable.
After the first couple of days there I began to realize that God had indeed led me to the Philippines and the fear began to dissipate. That trip gave me many opportunities to face fears: flying, leaving home, the ocean, bats, heights, foreign food, even escalators.
A year later I was preparing to leave home for three months. This time I wondered, could I really leave home and have no fear at all? Armed with Truth from God’s Word I proactively fought back the fears and doubts knocking on the door. As I focused my mind on Truth rather than on all the “what-ifs” God filled me with His perfect peace.
The past few weeks have been a filled with preparation for spending seven weeks in Colorado. I had a plan. I would leave, but my younger sister would stay. She would be able to handle some of my work responsibilities and help at home. Then, after I returned, she would leave for an internship in Haiti. That way my family would not be left without both of us at the same time, and it would be easier for them.
Once again fear and doubt came knocking. Once again I found myself telling God, “I can’t do this. Don’t make me go. I can’t leave my family. How can I leave them? They need me.”
Oh, how thankful I am for God’s patience with me!
He began to remind me of Truth. The reality is:
- If God calls me to something He will provide. And that includes providing for the family I am leaving behind.
- Jesus also had to leave behind a family. He cared for them, even when hanging on a cross. He knows what it is like to have to say goodbye. As the oldest son, he knows what it is like to be concerned for His family. Yet, even beyond His love for His earthly family is His love for His Heavenly Father. His love for His Father so dwarfed the love for His family that He could say, whoever does not hate his family cannot be my disciple. (my paraphrase)
- Jesus is always the same. He has never failed me, and He won’t start now.
- I am not my family’s Savior, Jesus is. The best place for them is in God’s hands. They need Jesus, not me.
- God is still in control. He knew, even before I decided to make this trip, that everything would happen at once. If I trusted Him in making the decision, why would I stop trusting Him now?
- He is good and does good. He works all things together for good, both in my life and my family’s.
- The battle belongs to the Lord.
- He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all I could ask or think.
- His grace is sufficient.
- He will supply all my needs.
Doubt is giving more weight to the enemy’s lies than to God’s Word. You will believe something. What will it be? God or Satan?
Here’s to seven weeks (and beyond!) of seeing the Lord’s faithfulness. Watch what my God will do!