As I near closer and closer to leaving for my mission, I’ve begun to get more and more nervous. Sometimes I feel like no matter how much I tell myself to trust in the Lord, I still worry. I think this is probably normal—a symptom of the often dangerous and scary world we live in. Anxiety builds as my mind floods with the possibilities of what can go wrong when on mission to a foreign country. These thoughts can sometimes overwhelm my mind so much as to almost push the call to mission out of my head entirely. “Go. You are worthy, you are needed,” gets squashed by “Am I really good enough for this? Should I really be going?” We all have weak spots where the dark side of life pokes and prods us. For me, that spot is uncertainty; for me, evil, or the thing that allows me to question God, is anxiety.
These anxious thoughts were all coming to a pitch last Sunday, and I was sort of dragging my feet on the way to Church. I didn’t want to confront it. I just wanted to push my thoughts away alone—chalk it up to nerves, solve my problems without asking Jesus for help.
Well, luckily for me (and for all of us), Jesus knows us. He knows what we want and what we need before we even pray for it. We need to pray, of course, don’t get me wrong. We need prayer to maintain fellowship with Jesus, and we need prayer for the tough asks and grateful acknowledgments. But God knows us, His children, so well. And He is so smart and loving that He is willing to confront us with Himself even when we want to run away… especially when we want to run away.
Last Sunday, as I dragged my anxious self into Church, Jesus confronted me. The Gospel reading came from Luke chapter nine, following the passages of the Samaritan Opposition. It reads:
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62, NIV)
As the Gospel reading ended, I was filled with the Holy Spirit—almost in an instant. This whole reading felt like it was emulating the call to mission, and what it requires. Jesus calls us to serve the Kingdom of God, and, to do so, we cannot turn back. We must go; I must go.
As full of grace as I felt in that moment, Jesus presented me with more. The preparation hymn was called “The Summons” which was a song I’d never heard before (or at least that I could remember) in all my years in the Church. The song went like this:
“Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know, and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my life be grown in you, and you in me?
Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind, and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile state should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you, and you in me?
Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside, and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around, through my sight and touch and sound in you, and you in me?
Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you, and never be the same.
In Your company I’ll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you, and you in me.”
I mean… come on. This is who God is.
By the end, I knew I was going to be okay on mission… He summons; I must go.
Pray for me while I’m gone. Updates will come after I return.
In Christ, Brooke Mackenzie