Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Mission Field


"But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." James 1:25 

She stood looking at the vast mission field she had been assigned to by God Himself. This was unknown territory. There was fear of failure, will she succeed?  Already exhausted and blinded by tears, she began, holding tight to God's hand, taking the first steps into this new territory. This mission would take years, decades of her life. She wondered "will it all be worth it?" Doubts filled her and fear threatened to paralyze her. During the beginning days living and working in her mission field, she often thought "maybe I should leave? Maybe there is more recognition, money and self fulfillment elsewhere?" She spent her days picking the rocks and thorns in the field, laying the foundation for the mission, sleeping little and trying to love and reach God's children.

The unreached people she was trying to love were demanding. The demands did not ease, day or night. Falling into bed exhausted, she wondered if her small tasks, the love she tried to show, was making a difference. Even the culture surrounding her was hostile towards her mission. "Come join us!" they cried, "there is so much out here that is more worthy of your time!" Some days, she saw the fruit beginning to bud, and the next day, tempers and trials abounded. She began to rely on God more and more, and He did not fail. She even began to understand Him more, and know His grace and love. Had she not herself slapped God away in her trials and tempers at times? Yet, He kept on loving her, and so, she would keep on loving others in her assigned mission field.

"May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." 
~2 Thessalonians 3:5

Time went on, and she left more and more of the world behind. She left her youthful foolishness, silly ideas and ways of thought, and turned more and more to God. He is her strength, healer and guide--- keeps her going day after day in this tough mission field. He has taught her lessons---how to love the difficult, how to learn from Him, how to be His disciple. She has learned that, as her selfishness dies, she lives more fully, and as she serves those around her she lives in peace and finds abundant life. She truly knows Christ now, she has died to herself. She can't imagine going back to living for herself. This mission field is home to her and it is where she belongs. She walks the holy, old paths now, and they are serving her well.

"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." Luke 9:24 

She once had foolish, self-centered dreams. They would have led her closer to herself, leaving little room for God. She would have become almost buried in her own selfishness and pursuing things of the world that pass away. She would never have fully known or realized God's love. Seeing God's children grow and learn in their faith, hugging them through tears and failures---is this not what God has done for her? Rejoicing in the victories, and holding a hand through the trials.

Discouragement still sets in easily. The work is hard in this mission field, but her resolve is growing stronger. Tasks are repetitive, tiring. Lessons are repeated over and over. There is not much time to pursue "herself." During the day she is confronted with stubbornness, anger, tears and resistance. At night, there are always more tasks to be done, almost until the midnight hour. At the end of the day, tears threatening to fall, God comforts her.  "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

There are many years still to go, decades left to minister in this field. They don't seem as endless and intimidating now. Strengthened by God, her path of life spent living for others, she has found real, true life. The life she lived before was a life of bondage. Trials, difficulties and uncertainties still come, life is not perfect. She wonders still, at times, if they will accept God and His ways? Will her work pass away and be for nothing? Yet she has a peace, and a confidence, that God does not abandon those who are faithful to Him. Through His grace, the seeds she planted in this mission field He will bring to harvest.

Where is this woman's mission field? The dangerous jungles of the Amazon? The mountains of China? A small, unreached people group on a small island? No, this woman's mission field is her home. Her husband and her children. She lives in this mission field every day, with no furlough. Few are willing to go live for years in this field, give their lives for this most important work, yet this mission field---home---is neglected and workers are needed by God. God's work needs to be done, and He needs dedicated and willing, loving hands. He needs His daughters to be faithful to Him and trust Him. He needs us to be Jesus' hands and feet to our families. He needs our hearts, our willingness, our sacrifice. If we don't, who will? He will not fail.

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35

Prayer: "Lord, refine me, remake me. Show me how to be your "worker." Send me into your mission field and give me strength to persevere. Show me your love, and show me HOW to love others as you do. Remind me of your promises and that you will never leave me or forsake me. Give me strength for the hard days and reveal more of yourself to me. Amen."

"And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Luke 10:2

"For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance." Hebrews 6:10-12



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