The need, the ways I could help others, the time required to make a difference in people's lives.
I see pain in eyes buried in brave faces and wonder what I can do about it. How can I make life better for them, more peaceful, fulfilling? What can I say? What can I do to ease the burden? Do I have the energy, the time, the abilities, the resources?
And then there's the people I don't know, children looking for sponsorship, heartbreaking stories of persecuted Christians in foreign lands and stolen little girls thrown into prostitution.
So. Much. Need.
If I understand God correctly, I'm supposed to do something about it. I'm supposed to be a light that shows the way to Him. I'm supposed to overcome evil with good. I'm told Love covers over a multitude of sins.
But what can I, a middle-aged woman in Nebraska, do? I can't make a dent in reaching the vast needs, not even in my own little community. What does God expect of me?
I pray about it, and He tells me to do what's before me, to worry about today, to listen, to read His Word, to obey. I guess all I can do is what He places before me.
So I go to Bible study. I talk with hurting friends. I take care of my family. I listen to people's problems. I pray. I make phone calls and send cards and drop an email here or there. I schedule coffee dates to hash over what God's doing. I write blog posts. I hug. I tell my stories to whoever is interested. I make myself available.
I think it makes a difference. Though my actions don't seem monumental, they matter. At least I've been content that I'm doing what God's placed before me. But I never stop praying for more opportunities, for more ways to help. Suddenly God has answered those prayers in a very surprising and scary way.
He's telling me to go to Uganda.
Yes, you read that right, Uganda, as in AFRICA! He's sending me to Uganda, which is completely crazy. As a teenager, it took me MONTHS to decide to become a Christian because I was afraid God might make me go to Africa for Jesus. I've never wanted to go on a missions trip. Never. Truth be told, I'm kind of a homebody. I'm the girl that cried every day the first two weeks of college, and I was only 30 minutes from home! In deciding on work opportunities as a young adult, I purposely chose jobs that kept me close to my roots. The furthest I've ever lived from where I grew up is an hour away.
But God's been very clear.
I'm supposed to go to Uganda.
And the questions whir again. Why ME? Why NOW? What can I possibly do? What do I know about Africa, or missions, for that matter? I've never had a heart that leans that way or an adventurous spirit. Being sent to Africa for Jesus is one of my biggest fears. WHY?
God answers in His trademark, expected way.
Trust Me. Do what is before you and let me take care of it.
So I do. And I will. But I know from experience that I can do very little on my own. I need your help. Start your engines, people! Bring on those prayers.
There's way more to tell about God's crazy plan. If you're one of those people amazed by His mysterious ways, stay tuned, friend. Already this has been an amazing journey of faith and faithfulness and is giving me a whole new perspective of God. I pray you'll join me as I share the story in weeks to come.
Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina