WAS IT WORTH IT?
During the last conference in India the thought plopped into my head, “Is doing this worth it?” Ministering in India is a real struggle, not just for us but for Pastor Moses and those working in India as well. They attribute it to Satan’s opposition to the Light driving back his darkness. My thought was, “Yes, it’s worth it.” But I quickly realized that is not a legitimate question to answer. First, only God knows the real cost and benefits. Secondly, deciding if it is “worth it” is not the reason we do this. All we do is to be done out of obedience to Jesus, not because of measurable good that comes from it.
I’ve come to realize that the pastor who benefits most from our time in India is me. God has tailor-made this experience for my growth. I don’t like to travel or speak to strangers. I don’t like to be stretched, be out of my comfort zone, be surprised by the unexpected, live with the unknown or be physically ill. So what does God do? He provides all of them so I’ll turn to Him and grow.
We’ve always said everyone should be poor once in their lives. It changes them for the better for the rest of their lives. It’s also true that everyone should be weak once in their life – weak enough to know they are out of resources and totally dependent on God. Rick Warren says, “You never know God is all you need until God is all you have.” How true. I feel God’s presence in a very real way when I am in India. I always know I need Him, but in India that becomes more of an every-day reality.
As I said in a previous blog, there are no guarantees with God. We aren’t guaranteed safe travel, protection from authorities or those who oppose Christianity, freedom from debilitating illness, smooth conferences or a positive response to our message. We aren’t even guaranteed we’ll live to the end of the day – no one anywhere is. But we are guaranteed that His presence and sufficient grace will be with us and that whatever happens will be for His glory and our growth. We couldn’t want any more than that.
God uses this ministry as a tool to fashion me into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). He promises He will do that with my life (Philippians 1:6). We in the USA often feel we are ‘entitled’ to His provision of the good life. If not we wonder why our prayers aren’t being heard. God has something more important going on than building our little kingdom – it’s building His great Kingdom. That’s why we pray “YOUR kingdom come, YOUR will be done” (Matthew 6:10). It’s not about us, it’s all about Him! If it wasn’t ‘worth it,’ He wouldn’t put us through it. Whatever He allows in our life IS worth it. Ask anyone in heaven and they’ll tell you it is.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.` That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
How are you handling the speed bumps and potholes life throws in your way? Do you complain and demand God remove them, or do you see them as God’s tool to make you more like Jesus? Don’t resent the hard stuff in life. We need it to keep reminding us of our weakness so we’ll rely on His strength!