The subtle comfort of routine isn’t something that most people claim they long for. At least, I had not until now. There are so many small comforts that have existed in my life as stealthy idols: routine, the illusion of independence, solitude. Surely, a pre-field missionary should be excited to toss these aspects of their life aside, anticipating the excitement of a new season still to come. Yet I have found myself continually longing for the familiar—or at least, what used to be familiar. I was unaware of how closely I cling to these things until this month. While comfort isn’t a bad thing, I have found that we live in a culture where our comfort/convenience is an all-consuming drive sometimes. I was surprised when I realized (and by that, I mean, when I was convicted of) the value I was placing on my own comfort when this first month of Deputation started demanding action to become uncomfortable.
But if I can encourage you with anything I’d say, if God calls you to do something uncomfortable to bring you closer to Him, do it.
I have been more uncomfortable in the last month than I have been in a while. There’s this feeling of the full body tensing that comes with awkward anticipation along with the disorientation of not having my own space or steady schedule that has accompanied me lately.
We have found ourselves on the other end of the first month of being pre-field missionaries with MAF on Deputation, building our ministry partnership team. Ministry Partnership is the process by which we acquire the financial and prayer support necessary to get us to the DRC to join the amazing work already being done there for the glory of God.
This month has looked a lot like of driving, setting up meetings to intentionally cultivate community, some more driving and purging our home of the majority of our possessions. (My new Marie Kondo motto is: “Do I love this enough to take it to Africa?”) We have also begun making strategic plans on how and when to sell our first home—the one in which we became adults with responsibilities and welcomed our daughter into our family in.
There was this initial twinge of pain for me to see our home being dismantled. It was impressive how quickly it could be done, really. And the idea of stepping into a season where we are relying on the benevolence of our family for a place to live while we raise support is…uncomfortable for me.
This yearning to be released from uncomfortable situations is only the beginning for us—but it is in this time, that we hope to be refined to become more like Jesus. Recently, our church has been in Daniel 3 following a series on Divine Wisdom. In this passage, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego face the fiery furnace after refusing to bow to the golden image. Even though I have heard this story a thousand times over, I am still amazed at the power of God’s word to continually speak into my unique circumstances. One of our pastors made a point that God keeps reminding me of: “As Christians, our instinct is to call out to God in our moments of [discomfort or] trials and ask for Him to draw near to us and remove us from our plight. But more often than not, God will only commit to answering 50% of that prayer. He draws near to us every time but will not necessarily remove us from challenging situations. But He does this for the purpose of refining us.”
Our Deputation time isn’t as extreme as the story of the fiery furnace, but the uncertainties that are before us feel like the sweltering heat from a fire that would be more than easy to back away from. The temptation is to begin to dwell on our discomfort, fear the inevitable trials ahead that are inherent in the life of a missionary—to resist the life God has called us to, and to hold on to the roots we have here.
But God has reminded me so gently that He is preparing us for the life He has called us to embark on. In His kindness, throughout this month, He has shown us His provision through strangers, teammates, friends, and church members eager to hear of His work in our lives and willing to support us financially and through prayer. I have been so humbled to hear of people praying specifically for this time in our lives and so thankful that God has already gone before us to speak to the hearts of those whom He wishes to use to support our ministry.
I have experienced God’s goodness, His faithfulness of provision, and His gentle reassurance that He is over our endeavors during this time. He spoke very clearly to us that now is the time to move on from our home—not at the end of our Deputation, so that we may rely fully on Him and have an urgency about getting to the field.
We are in a season where we have a front row seat to see God move in His own timing. This has been a very full month–I am thankful to report that through it all, He is drawing us near and our faith in Him is continuing to be strengthened.
A verse was sent to us recently that keeps coming to the forefront of my mind:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust will be your strength.” Is 30:15
And in uncomfortable situations, rest and quietness are not what I often seek out—but God is always working, and often getting our attention when we are uncomfortable or unsure. While I find myself disappointed at my own lack of graceful conscientiousness when it comes to my own discomfort, I am thankful for a God who is near to me, preparing the way ahead of us.
Thank you MAF and Mark Hewes for a beautiful glimpse into dusk in the Congo.