It couldn’t be clearer. Through means that were perhaps unexpected, though not totally unwelcome, God called you to serve Him full-time as a missionary. You want to carry out the call by going, there’s just one thing standing in your way…
cannot bear the idea of your leaving. In fact, you can’t stand to think of leaving them. It doesn’t help that your parents frown on the idea of begging for money to live on. They want to know why you're wasting years of education. Maybe your life-long friends think it’s crazy, or as they aren’t Christians just the idea of missions sounds like lunacy. (Or perhaps they are Christians and they still think it is lunacy.)
is another point they make, and it’s crossed your own mind a few times. Will you have to eat up your savings? Or worse – ask other people for money when you “raise support?" Having a bit of money in the bank, or in hand, is a security you’ve come to rely on. You’re not greedy, you’re financially conservative; isn’t that a good thing? You are a hard worker, so raising support seems like asking for an undeserved handout. Using up your savings would be like tossing those hours of work out the window.
are the result of perseverance and labour. When you consider responding to God’s call and going on the mission field, you balk at the idea of forsaking all that effort. Even leaving for a few years could be detrimental to advancement opportunities. When you return you’d have to start all over again, building your career from the ground up…and there are no guarantees.
haunts the back of your mind each time you imagine leaving. Fear of the unknown. It’s not just the career you think about. You have no idea what leaving could mean. What might happen at home while you’re away? What will you miss? What will happen to you in your new home? The possibility of poverty is terrifying. The idea of living in a different style than you’ve been accustomed to is deeply uncomfortable. If you have children, you wonder how they could ever adjust. You fear failure. In a new place you will impact new people, perhaps for eternity. What if you mess up?
feels important, but you feel unprepared. You’re not a Bible scholar, and although moving to a new country sounds romantic you can see potential costs. If you follow God’s call you will, perhaps for the rest of your life, live between cultures. The one that issues your passport and the places you introduce yourself to at God’s beckoning – they will all be a part of you now. If you are married your spouse and children will change and grow, too. If you marry while on the field your choice of spouse will be different. Is your family prepared for the changes? Will your friends welcome you back, even when your worldview shifts in subtle (Or enormous.) ways? Perhaps everyone will react beautifully. Perhaps you won’t be able to handle it.
to a foreign place or foreign sort of job will change you. The idea of committing to a strange place is overwhelming. Committing to missions mean you will miss out on the weddings, new babies, heartbreaks, new homes, and the new careers that your family and friends will experience. You commit to an absence from, for all you know, the majority of their life events. Your commitment to following God into missions means commitment to missing out. Commitment to missions means committing to exciting, and scary, new opportunities. It means committing to the loss of security. If you take this step of faith, you commit to the unknown.
Yes, it’s clear as day. To realise the call of God to missions means accepting a slew of complications. Accepting that all disciples of Christ are charged with the Great Commission means accepting that your life is about more than what pleases your family & friends. The Great Commission is more than the worth of all the money you could save in a lifetime, or the highest place a good career could afford. God’s call to missions, or to any new step of faith, transcends the fear and replaces in you a spirit of confidence & peace. You use God-given wisdom to prepare the best you can, and He prepares you for what you can never plan. And this new type of commitment? The things you’ll miss, the new things you’ll take in – they’re worth it for the kingdom of Heaven.
The truth is that some of these obstacles will clear up in time as you obey God's calling on your life, and some could stick. But there will be other things, too. There will be the joy of seeing someone take a new step in their relationship with Jesus. The way your heart rises up in your chest when you return, for the first time, to the new place God has made your home. The bizarre peace you claim when you speak with God, knowing that you’ve obeyed Him – followed His voice anywhere, and found that He was always near.
“If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.”