The seemingly gentle reminder for us to have a Great Commission mindset became more than an encouragement for me. It was one of God’s ways of answering my apprehensions.
A long time ago, I asked the Lord how difficult was it for Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father’s household?
In Genesis 11:27-12:5, it may seem that the chronology of the story was:
11:31 Terah took Abraham, Sarah, and Lot to set out to Canaan but settled in Haran
11:32 Terah died
12:1 God said to Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that the Lord will show him
12:4 Abraham went
But Acts 7:1-4 recounts the chronological sequence of events:
“The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living.”
When Abraham was commanded by the Lord to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that He would show him, he did not go to that land right away. Abraham just passively went through the circumstances. When his father decided to set out to Canaan, he followed; when his father decided to settle in Haran instead, he settled. Finally, when his father died he obeyed the Lord but not completely because part of his father’s household was with him – Lot.
It was a gradual obedience on the part of Abraham but the Lord was patient and gracious in giving him time and preparing his heart until he finally completely obeyed the Lord. The Lord is faithful and His purpose for Abraham came to pass.
Then I asked: How difficult is it to leave your country, your people and your father’s household? To leave your family, relatives, friends, and all the people you love not knowing when you will see them again. How difficult is it to leave the security and comfort of familiar things and go to a foreign country you know nothing about? But then, I realized, how can I ask these things when other people even went through more difficult circumstances to leave alone and live alone?
All these questions and anxieties were overshadowed by this longing in my heart:
What are You doing, Lord, and how do You want me to take part in it?
Being reminded of the importance and urgency of not just evangelism but also cross-cultural missions has caused me to look forward to that foreign country. Knowing that each of us is part of one Body and has a specific function, and realizing the need of other people make me forget the difficulty of leaving instead be joyful and find courage in the purposeful plan of the Lord.
Father, Your Word is true. You are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine and I can only stand in awe of You. Thank you for Your graciousness and faithfulness to me, for being patient with me and giving me time to be with my family, for helping me show them how much I love them, for fixing my relationship with them [which is still in progress], for assuring me that You will be the One to take care of them and not me, for how You have been faithful in their lives as well, for preparing me and my family, and for even answering all my petty questions and doubts. Sanctify me, Father, may I be useful to You and be prepared for every good work for Your glory. You are my God so may Your will be done exactly according to how You want it and in Your perfect time.