It’s pretty amazing how God orchestrates the events of our lives! I’ve spent the past week studying the history of the church and faith I belong to, and what I’ve discovered has provoked a fresh sense of wonder in me as God’s providential goodness has been unveiled. Sometimes, we think God is so far removed from the little details of our lives, but once in a while, we get surprised by and reminded of the reality that He is ever and always there, carefully causing everything to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
When I was thirteen years old, I went on a “field trip” to San Francisco with the church I was attending. They called it an outreach, and we went to feed and pray with the homeless of the city. I remember coming back from that trip with a burden that was mixed with a strange confidence and excitement. That day, it became clear that I wanted to spend my life reaching out to people and helping to bring hope to dark places. I didn’t just go and hand out sandwiches, I fell in love. I looked into their eyes, and I saw their pain. I held their hands, and I felt their burdens. I stepped into their circumstances, and I understood their desperation. But I knew there was more for them, and then and there a passion was birthed in me to help them discover the God Who gave His life to invite them into His good plans for their lives.
Fast forward to my twenties, where I was living in an apartment with some girls I had recently met and started going to church with. During our morning devotional time – something that was new to me – we prayed and asked God what He wanted to do in our lives. I heard 3 small words: “Cross the Oceans,” but I knew immediately what they meant. I would go to other countries and share the good news about Who God is, and what Jesus has done for us.
I have had the privilege of joining other missions trips, as well, and have been equally and increasingly amazed and inspired with each one. The stories of missionaries intrigue and welcome me to the great adventure of going and telling the world about this treasure I have found in Christ. And although there are many other things I do – and am called to do – missions will always be at the heart it all. I was made this way.
In actuality, we all, who belong to Jesus, are made this way. Or rather, remade. We may not all be called to get a passport and venture into the bush villages of Africa, but the truth is that we don’t have to go far at all to find a mission field. We don’t have to change our address to live on a mission. When we became followers of Christ, when we were born again, into His family, we were given – entrusted with – a co-mission (Matthew 28:19). We were given life, so that we might spend this life trying to help others find it, too. Career missionaries are not the only ones called to spread the gospel, to tell the world about Jesus. You and I, dear Women of Breakthrough, have been called to spend our lives immersed in the same mission, daily.
This didn’t always make sense to me, and I spent years focusing on “getting prepared” for a future missions trip. There, are, of course, very intentional, specific, and appropriate ways to do that. But what I missed in those years was the reality that, all around me, there are people who don’t know about – some who have never even heard of – Jesus.
Last year, I met four missionaries – to America! Each of them came from different nations, and all four were called to help America find Christ! That blew my mind because I thought we were the sending nation, not the receiving one. I thought it was only the poorest nations that needed the gospel, and the people who didn’t have access to churches and Bibles who needed someone to go and share with them the good news. But the sad reality is that, even and especially in the richest communities and the biggest churches, there are people who don’t know Jesus, and who will die facing an eternity of separation from God. Right in our neighborhood! Right in our church! Right in our city!
I took a walk lastnight into the downtown area of my city, and my heart broke for all the people I saw hurting and lost. There were multitudes all around me who did not know Jesus. Some were happy to live that way, enjoying their entertainments. Some were miserable, but didn’t know any other way. Some were actually former Christians, who had caught the tradition, but missed the heart of Christ, and so fell back into a life without Him. They, like so many others, never got beyond the rules and requirements and pretense of it all. And it struck me that, right in my city – in the thriving hub of activity, where people swarm in daily life – there is a mission begging to be carried out.
What I was so amazed to learn in my studies over the last week is that God has placed me in a church and a church organization that was born to answer the Great Commission. Its heart has always been to reach the lost, and there are literally programs in place to equip and prepare people to do just that, even on American soil! With their help, many people have partnered with the dreams of God’s heart and stepped into ministries that creatively and effectively reach the souls that live among us every day.
How like God to align everything the way He has! I couldn’t have created a better plan for myself! And I couldn’t be better positioned to answer the call He has given me. That is a wonderful feeling and it greatly strengthens my trust in His divine sovereignty.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, can you say the same? Have you embraced the purpose of God in your life, to live in partnership with Him, on a co-mission to share Him with those all around you? Have you stepped into His plans for you, submitting your gifts and talents to whatever process He has mapped out? Are you faithfully connected to a church, the church He has called you to be a part of, and therefore participating in your own preparation? Are you eagerly anticipating the unveiling of His mysterious ways, positioned to watch His good and perfect plans unfold as you stay faithful in the places and things to which He has appointed you?
Our nation has never needed God more than now. The next generation will be lost if we do not rise to the call of God upon our lives. But I am fully convinced that God has never been more ready to pour out His presence on a people in such desperate need of Him. We are uniquely and strategically planted in a time and season where God can and will do so much with our little lives, if we will just say yes! If we will recognize that the heart of the Gospel, the great purpose of all of our lives in Christ, is to share Him with others, we will step into the fullness we have spent years looking for. Chasing our own dreams, even our own purpose and calling, is too small of a reason to live. We have been given something so much bigger! And as we connect ourselves to the greater vision, we will be equipped and empowered by His Spirit to become what God has always intended for us to be: commissioned!
“Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.” Matthew 29:19-20, Passion Translation