Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Looking Back and Looking Forward

One year ago, we had completed our initial evaluation with MTW and were headed into a year full of unknowns. We were told during the evaluation week that MTW was not certain they wanted us to go to the Czech Republic, so we didn’t know if we would really end up in the country we felt strongly called to serve; we didn’t know if we would be fully and finally accepted as missionaries with MTW; we didn’t know what the training under MTW would look like; we didn’t know what it would feel like to quit our comfortable jobs and start raising funds to support our new work; we didn’t know what we didn’t know.

Quite honestly, the situation is little changed today. Yes, we know the answers to and outcomes of much that was unknown this time last year, but today there are new questions, different unknowns, more stuff that is out of our control, and so, more stuff for which we really need to trust God. In this aspect changing careers and moving to a foreign country mirrors ordinary life. How so? Well, our lives are always full of unknown things that are beyond our ability to control. Our lives are always full of things that invite us to depend entirely upon God and his wise providence. But we are experts at glossing over these things in favor of an illusion that appears to give us power and control. So long as we can maintain our busy schedules and keep our comfortable routines in place, we feel that we are OK and really don’t need God’s help all that much. When a crisis arises, the thin gloss of our illusion is stripped away and we are required to face the monolithic reality that we can’t really do much, and so, we are truly dependent on God. Although we wouldn’t describe our circumstances as a crisis, they do tend to keep the “I’m-in-control-here” illusion suppressed.

During our month of training in Brussels, one of our teachers remarked to me that she thinks missionaries are such special people. I have a response to that thought; I’m pretty sure it is true in my case, but not sure yet that it is universally true. I think this missionary is special in the sense that he could not learn to trust and depend on God as he should in any other way. So, God has arranged for these special lessons for him.


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