Several of us have really been struggling this outreach. The heat has drained us (yesterday it was 98 with a heat index of 102), the maturity level of some of the students has challenged us, Satan has been attacking… For myself, I’ve felt exhausted and frustrated.So, last night, our group decided to not study the book we’re working through (a very good book on Fellowship), but instead, to practice fellowship. We started together, singing praise to God and praying. Then we split into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ and spent the evening sharing our hearts.
It was such a release to be able to talk about things I’ve been holding in. To hear others talk about their struggles, too. And, to laugh! The situations haven’t been funny, but there’s something about sharing icky stuff with others that makes it possible to laugh.Of course, it can’t just be about whining together, as tempting as that can be! I love the fact that together we helped point each other back to Jesus. Back to the reason we are here.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the mission, in the work. We get down on ourselves, down on the students when we see them not taking full advantage of this time. We want them to be open to God’s work in their lives. When that doesn’t seem to be happening, we get frustrated, and even downright angry!Last night we reminded each other that God is at work in His way. We don’t know why each of the students is here at just this time. But, we can trust that God has sent them for His plan and purpose. Yes, we have a part in their journey, but we are not responsible for the transforming work only God through His Holy Spirit will accomplish.
One of the women reminded us of what we learned at our staff retreat in May: No other person can give us the love that only God can give. When we are able to forgive another person for not being able to give us the perfect love that only our perfect God can give, we are able to accept the gifts that they can give.
The students, the people in our communities, our friends and families, even other missionaries, are going to disappoint us. In their brokenness, they can never be all we need. But, we can learn to rejoice in what they are able to give us, knowing that we, too, as broken, sin-filled people, are not meeting all of their needs, either. Then, together we can continue to point each other to the only One who can.
Jesus did not heal every sick person, did not change the life of everyone He came in contact with. And yet, He could say, Father, I have brought You glory by completing the work You sent me to do.
We are here to bring God glory. When He stops being the focus and purpose of our lives, doubts, frustrations, anger, resentment, come crashing in.
Last night, God used my sisters in Christ to help remind me of His love, of His provision. Today is a new day. There are plenty of challenges waiting. But, God is waiting, too. Waiting for me to choose again today to love with His love. To trust in Him to do what only He can. To accept and forgive weakness… in myself, in others. To seek my only strength, my only peace, my only love, in Him.
So, today I choose again to put my agenda, my needs, my life, back on the altar. To once more take up my cross. To put my Armor in place. Okay, Father, bring on the day! In Your love, in Your strength, it's going to be a good one!!