September 3, 2012

Will You?

It is a difficult day, my emotions pitching wildly like a dingy in the ocean. There are certain challenges that accompany ministry, certain sacrifices, certain burdens that live with us like a member of the family. I've known this; I've come to terms with this countless times. I've also joyfully submitted to all that it entails. But in this moment, I just cling to the side of the dingy, staring at the reality of ministry in the face and letting those realities have their way with me, flinging me from side to side.
It's when relationships are challenging or when I feel alone at my post that I feel the swelling of the waves. I've come to recognize this. I know that the nature of the work creates these unique challenges, I fight with everything in me to stay engaged and connected with life-giving friends, and I certainly battle against lies of isolation, self-pity, and expectations. But sometimes the waves just overtake me, and I wonder if this is all worth it. Sometimes I just want it to be easy, this life.

Rocking back and forth, feeling the force of the waves crashing on me, I close my eyes, feeling the tears roll down. I don't know if I can do this, Lord. I just don't know.

I am transported back to a summer evening, weeks after college graduation, when I heard a sermon that God used to call me to ministry. The sermon was about money of all things, but I only heard my beating heart, beating for a life of purpose. I knew that purpose for me was a life of ministry, and I said yes.

A wave crashes, drenching me with reality. That yes has become a life of joy and blessing but also great sacrifice. And I just don't know how to do it sometimes. I would like to not struggle so much against seeking the approval of men, worrying when I don't have it, feeling dried up or overwhelmed, or against the sacrifice itself. I would like it to be easy, this life.

I'm still rocking, pitching according to my emotions and thoughts. Then He speaks, just in time: Will you? 

Will I? I know what He is asking, more than I knew it when I said yes the first time. I know He is asking if I'll give my life to Him again for His purposes, if I'll continue on despite the challenges and difficulties I'm facing. Sobs well up with my words: I just don't know if I can do it.

No, you cannot. 

But I can in you.

All I can do is trust Him for it all: relationships, protection, His approval, faith, life change, grace, and the power for ministry. It's all I have in this moment. He is all I have for every moment.

Yes. I say it quiet and strong, simultaneously praying for help to make it so.

And the waves immediately grow still.

So Jesus said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 14:29-33