My friend likes challenges and is dedicated to mission work wherever the Lord sends her. She is currently completing one mission trip and preparing for the next, but in a different country. While going through all the necessary preparations, she discovered that her visa will cost much more than what she expected. She is very frustrated and even angry about this!
Needing someone to hear her heart, she lamented to me, “For crying out loud, I'm spending my own money to go down there and help clean up their own mess for free out of the goodness of my heart, and they want me to pay $400 for it?”
Can you hear yourself saying something similar if you were in her shoes? I surely can! My response to her, which I believe the Lord placed on my heart, has implications for all of us to consider.
I can understand why you are ticked-off about this. I agree that the visa fee seems very unreasonable! The application process and preparations are nerve-racking enough without this added stressor! Thanks for sharing your heart with me. I will certainly be praying for you as you continue through this challenging process.
I noticed myself “jumping on the bandwagon” of irritation with you until the Lord kinda “nipped it in the bud”! While it certainly isn’t my intention to make light of your frustrations, may I offer some thoughts for prayerful consideration which may be helpful as you continue to prepare for this mission?
I have found that sometimes the Lord tests us regarding what we are willing to press through and “pay out” in order to be obedient to His call on our lives. With that in mind, could it be that this is about you and God rather than about those who govern the country to which you are heading? Could it be that you are being asked if you are willing to spend your last penny and your last drop of energy to accomplish His will and that He's waiting to see how you’ll respond? Could it be that He's wondering if you trust Him enough to provide your needs after you come to the end of what you perceive is available to you? I have even found that, in situations like this, the Lord is sometimes simply saying, “I was just checking” and the circumstance doesn’t unfold the way in which it seemed to be heading. A good example of such an instance is expressed in one of my favorite songs,
I JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW
By: Randy Swift
God told Abraham take Isaac up the mountain
And there make him a sacrifice to me
I know tears rolled down & breath was hard to come by
While Abraham was knelt there on his knees
So hand in hand they headed up the mountain
And he thought about the thing that lay in store
Like shattered glass inside his heart was breaking
Cause he’d never known a pain like this before
Too soon they reached that spot where they were going
And he laid Isaac down on his death bed
His heart raced as he drew the knife to strike him
But a God of mercy stopped him and he said
I just wanted you to know exactly how it feels
To watch a son you love, walk up a lonely hill
To feel the pain inside as your heart breaks in your chest
To lose the very thing that you love the best
So now you’ve walked the walk and I know you understand
The price that must be paid to correct the sins of man
And you’ll know just how I feel when they walk him up that hill
I just wanted you to know
I know that you have sacrificed greatly in order to pursue previous missions and I realize that you are surrendering even more to proceed in this one. I recognize that in doing so it entails not only money, but includes leaving family, friends and comforts behind in order to be available to God’s leading. I truly understand how painful this can be. I remember a time when I cried out to the Lord saying, "How much more do you expect me to give-up?" His response was, "All of it, Bonnie. I want all of it!"
As He stretches us beyond our comfort zones,
the tendency is to resist against the perceived cause of discomfort.
In reality though, we are resisting against Him.
The “cause” is only the means
by which He accomplishes His will in us.
With this in mind, shouldn’t our focus be on asking our Lord what He desires for us to learn through the trial rather than how to change the circumstances or find a way to wiggle our way out of it? As painful as it may seem, shouldn’t we rejoice in the fact that, in His wisdom, He is using that which He knows is exactly right for transforming us?
“Consider it pure joy, my fellow believers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that
you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the person, who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test
he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him”
(James 1:2-4, 12).
So often we go into situations which we believe the Lord has called us into with a focus on all that we are going to accomplish! Yet, isn’t it our pride which says, “I’m going to go here and there and I’m going to do this and that” (James 5:13-17)! If God can use the rocks to accomplish His will (Luke 19:40) and a donkey to speak for Him (Numbers 22:30), the reality is; He doesn’t need us! While it certainly is commendable to desire to be used in His Kingdom work, it really boils down to what He desires to accomplish in us for His glory rather than all that we desire to do for others or achieve for Him.
What if we go and nothing on our list gets accomplished? Is it by what we have accomplished for Him that God is glorified or is it when we reflect Him in the midst of the trials which announces to “the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 6:12) that Jesus is King of all kings!
May our focus be on that which brings Him glory as He uses the situations we find ourselves in to refine and mold us into His likeness! May we find that we respond in every situation in a way which reflects the glory of our Lord! May our deepest desire be to communicate our Father’s magnificent message to the entire universe which He so clearly spoke to Abraham, “I just wanted you to know” how glorious the King is!