Can you recall a particular time in your life when you felt the heavy weight of dread, but didn’t know why? I’m not talking about superstitions. I’m referring to a time when you felt like God was about to do something big in your life and you weren’t sure you were going to like it.
I’ve had foreboding feelings that were nothing more than my overactive imagination. But, I’ve also walked through seasons when God was preparing me for something new, and during these times his messages seemed to be continuous confirmations that had one main purpose.
One of these seasons began on a Wednesday night as I sat in church. I’d had a long, tiring day, and it was an effort getting to church that night. After dropping my kids off at their classrooms, I entered the sanctuary and settled in a back pew. I started to feel a little frustrated as our pastor announced that we had a guest speaker; then he introduced a missionary couple from South America.
The couple lived in Ecuador and had a growing church in Quito. They spoke about their desire to minister to an indigenous group of people living in the Andes Mountains. The South American Quechua Indians lived in remote villages at high elevations, and most of them hadn’t heard about the love of Jesus. The couple shared a video and talked about the culture of the Quechua people.
The colorful pictures in the video grabbed my attention. The land, as well as the people were beautiful. Suprisingly, I felt a strong desire to learn more about these people. At the end of the service, the missionaries invited us to come to an upcoming meeting where they would discuss the details of participating in a mission trip to Ecuador.
I kept quiet about my feelings. With three children under the age of 13, almost every afternoon was filled with either baseball, gymnastics, or homework. I didn’t have time to visit another country, and I certainly couldn’t afford the cost of the trip. Also, Americans were still feeling uneasy about our safety due to the terrorists attack on the World Trade Center. Not even a year had passed since planes had crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City. Did I mention that I’d never been on a plane?
Two weeks later I was sitting in the informational meeting. I left the meeting thinking – “Yep, I was right. I can’t afford this, and most importantly my family will not survive 10 days without me.” But, God had other plans. After multiple confirmations, and the inability to remove the Ecuadorian people from my thoughts, I finally told God that if He supplied the money for the trip I would go.
Isn’t it silly to tell the God of the universe “If you do this, I’ll …”? I’m guessing by now you know the end of this story. Several months later, I was on a plane bound for South America. It was scary. It was hard work. I missed my family. But, I’d do it again if He asked me, because it was one of the best experiences of my life.
God had been preparing my heart in the months prior to the trip. By the time we arrived at the orphanages in Quito, and the villages in the Andes, my love for these people had grown so much that it could only be explained as a gift from God. My initial thoughts that God was about to do something that might make me very uncomfortable ended up being one of the greatest blessings of my life.
Let’s not fear the seemingly hard things God brings in our life, because often they end up being the best things.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not own your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6
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Inspiring others to place their hope in Jesus is Jill Jessen‘s desire as she writes. Having received inspiration from daily devotionals for years, she appreciates writers who have shared their life with her. She believes we learn from living and that everyone has a story to tell. Jill and her husband Greg have three children and are now entering in to the “empty nest” phase of life. The birth of their first grandchild this year was a sweet reminder of Gods perfect gifts.