I don’t know about you, but I can easily slip into a slump of thinking I have nothing to offer or say. Life can feel overwhelming sometimes, and instead of taking control and harnessing my emotions, I wallow and drown in them instead.
But God has shown me the importance of remembering as I’ve been writing this month. Reflecting back on where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, what we’ve learned, and how we’ve changed in the process has everything to do with our capability of moving forward. The most valuable discoveries in life require desperate, unrelenting pursuit; we need to mine the past for truth as if we’re searching for nuggets of gold, or a missing pacifier.
You’ve lived a story, friends. And on the journey, you’ve learned and grown. You, like me, even on my worst days, have something to offer the world.
As I’ve recounted the road that led to urban missions this month, two things have become clear. The first is that this story has very little to do with us and everything to do with God in us. It’s a story of us being “stuck” for one reason after another, and God, in His mercy and grace, shaping and conforming our hearts in the waiting. It’s about the ministry of time bending our will to His, the process of surrender sweeping up the pieces of our broken desires, and His Spirit opening our eyes to a different way when life didn’t go as planned.
The second is that somewhere along the way, our mindset switched from transient to resident. The city became home when we chose to attend the public school up the road and visited a dentist around the corner, when we put down roots in the community and the issues that plagued it were no longer “their issues,” but ours, too. “Us and them” gradually changed to “we.” The city became home when we started investing in it.
God longs for us to walk humbly, love mercy, and seek justice, and there's a good reason for that. We’re called to love others and bear one another's burdens because it requires something from us: investment. If we’re truly loving others, it will cost us. But God knows it’s this very cost that will bind us to those who are broken and hurting, because now, we’re in it together. We have skin in the game and a stake in the outcome. It’s a lot harder to walk away from something or someone in which you’ve invested everything.
There’s a two-letter word that has the potential to leverage all of your motivation and resources. If I were to hear on the news that children on the other side of the world are starving and dying, I may experience emotions ranging from anger to empathy. I may even be moved to make a donation to benefit the children. But by tomorrow, I will have resumed business as usual and probably not even give those starving children a second thought. Their world hasn’t collided with mine, and therefore, it’s disturbingly easy to move on.
But what if those starving kids were my children?
Well, now that just changes everything, doesn’t it?
More on this tomorrow...
This post is part of a series I’m writing for the month of October called, 31 Ways God Paved the Road to Urban Missions. If you’re interested in the reading the rest of the series, you can find it here. To receive these posts directly in your inbox every week, subscribe below!