So I have been doing a lot of thinking lately... about life, about my future, about God, about people, about America, about my journey. God has given me new passions and new visions and it is a very exciting life living with Him. Sometimes I just can't get over how blessed I am to be able to call this God my Friend and my Savior. It is very humbling.
When I allow my heart to dream, it seems that something always comes in and tries to discourage it. Something that has really been burning on my heart lately is this: "We need missionaries in America, too; you were born here for a reason and are meant to stay here." It is something that I have been told many times by people. It is something that could discourage many plans that the Lord may one day have for me if I were to follow this.
I do not believe that this quote is true for everyone. But am I meant to stay here? Well that is a question that the Lord must answer. However, this quote fuels a fire inside of my heart whenever I hear someone say it. If everyone were to follow that, ministries would not have been started that have effected other people in countries who have never even heard the Name of Jesus. Many people who are now saved would have never been saved.
When I hear the statistics that only 2% of U.S. missionaries go to unreached people groups, my heart aches. When I hear the statistics that 95% of Christian leaders live in the U.S., my heart is set ablaze. When I hear the statistics that nearly 2 billion people have no exposure to the Gospel, my heart races. When I hear the quote, "We need missionaries in America, too; you were meant to stay here" on top of these statistics, it is hard for me to not get angry.
I think of Abraham. His journey is amazing. It is filled with such faith and obedience. God called him to a distant land... and he followed. He did not say, "But Lord! You placed me here to stay here. If you wanted me over there, You would have placed me there in the first place!" No, Abraham knew that the part of his journey in the place where God had him was over... the Lord was calling him to a new place and into a new season of life.
I think of Paul. If he would have continued on being Saul on that journey to Damascus, many people would not be saved. It is amazing to think that Paul was once a man who persecuted and murdered Christians... and then we read about him in the same Bible as one of the greatest Christian missionaries. It is amazing to think that maybe I am one of his spiritual descendants... one of the ones who was saved as a result of someone who Paul witnessed to years ago. It is exciting and it is proof that sometimes the Lord calls us to places that we once never intended to go ~ places other than those which we now call home... places that one day we will call home.
Yes, I think of people like Abraham and Paul and great missionaries and I have to question this quote: "You were meant to stay here." It is as if those words are a big sigh of relief to the one who is afraid ~ of a new place other than the one that they know and are comfortable with, of difficulty, of a hard road, of going out of their comfort zone, of leaving this place that they call home. YES, that once described me and it does describe me many times... And yes, it is true for some to stay in America as missionaries (how would our fellow Americans know about Jesus?)... But it is not fair to claim that it is true for all.
I would love to live a life with this quote as my life quote, with this as my legacy:
"Lord, You placed me here for a reason. I am to witness to those around me now. Yet it is my complete desire to follow You to wherever it is that You lead me. Whether that be a long and hard journey like those of Abraham and Paul or whether it be that You keep me here, let it be so. I just want You. I just want what You want. I was born here for a reason and I was placed on this journey for a reason; but perhaps this is not where You will always have me be. Make my heart ready for wherever it is that You want me and wipe away all of my fears. Let it be so."