As I write this, I can feel a warm night breeze on my skin coming through the windows of the apartment I am living in as I listen to the soothing roar of the Pacific ocean waves in the near distance. I can’t think of a much better
atmosphere for updating my blog half-way through outreach.
Even though the island of Tahiti is absolutely amazing, choosing to come here for outreach on my own was definitely a hard decision for many reasons.
One of the biggest reasons why it was hard was because I was believing this lie that God would not use me for much good and that no one would be affected by the teachings I intended to share from YWAM’s Foundations for Counseling Ministry (awesome school, I recommend it).
I have been on outreach before and have seen God work through me, but I was accustomed to having everything laid out for me, the schedule, the ministry, etc, and a team whom I could share the pressure and burden with.
So when I had become sure of God’s call for me to go alone to Tahiti back in October of 2014, my fears resembled the ones like Moses had when he first received His call:
”Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Although Moses’ call was obviously more intense than what God was asking of me, I just wasn’t confident that God would lead me through the unknown, that His word spoken through me would be powerful, and that I could make any difference.
I did not realize how great a sense of inferiority I had within me! It was so great that I thought somehow the power of God working through me would be diminished, as if I could take away God’s power, or that I had to be a different person for God to use me.
A couple months before I left for Tahiti, someone at YWAM Amsterdam was praying for me, and as if he could read my fears about going to Tahiti alone, he suggested that I read the Book of Jonah, as Jonah was also sent out by God alone.
I read it almost immediately, but I didn’t receive much insight that allayed any of my fears.
But then last night, without re-reading the book or even really thinking about the Bible, I ‘randomly’ received a fresh revelation of how awesome Jonah was (despite the fact that he didn’t want the Assyrians to receive God’s mercy), which led to the inspiration of this blog post.
The very fact that Jonah was confident in God’s determination to work through Him among the Assyrians reflects his intimate knowledge of God’s character and ways.
Jonah knew that God had an exact plan in mind for Jonah’s trip. And Jonah knew that by speaking God’s words that the Assyrians had a high chance of responding positively (unfortunately, to Jonah’s dismay).
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God.
And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
So in other words, he was not afraid that God wouldn’t lead him or that he could make a difference. He knew God well enough that this fear didn’t even cross his mind because he knew it was about God’s power, not his. In fact, he was so confident in God’s plan to lead him into making an impact on this short-term trip that he decide to run away, not wishing the Assyrians any mercy from God.
And since being here, I can say that I am coming to know God in the way Jonah did. God has led me each step of the way, and His word has been going forth as He desired.
I don’t have to be like Moses when he first was commissioned (he obviously turned out to be a great leader). I don’t have to focus too much on my weaknesses and fear of the unknown.
Instead, I will take a page from the Book of Jonah. I can be confident in God’s leadership over me. I can be confident in His determination to reveal His glory and goodness through me and through anyone who says ‘yes’ in response to His call to serve, simply because that is His way.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.