“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”
I forgot. I forgot the definition of that word that means so much to me: daring. I claim it as my most favorite word in the English language, yet the depth of the truth behind those six alphabet soldiers evaporated for a while.
It happened sometime between daring being a dream and daring coming true…
I went to Costa Rica last summer. It was my first mission trip, my first international mission trip, my first flight, and my first international flight. It seemed every time I turned around, I was being whacked by the knowledge that not only was I leaving home and family and hot water to travel 3,000 miles — but that 3,000 miles also put me on the other side of the border that makes my blood pulse red, white, and blue.
I pinched myself on a regular basis because, truly, this was what I wanted, what I felt called to do, what I knew I would love. And I was right. I did. I loved every blessed minute spent hugging on children, working in that church on a hill, arching in ice-cold showers, and sitting through Spanish church services.
Then I came home. And I forgot the daring that was my anthem. Confidence shriveled as I settled back into hot showers, ample amounts of ice in my glass, and time to breathe and be and believe this is comfortable.
Oh, how could you? I want to shake my head at myself now. How could you trade in the faith for the fearing? The grace for the gallon of doubt that wily devil spoon-fed you?
In the weeks that followed, the question, “How was your mission trip?” brought a wide smile and the same answer every time: “It was amazing.” That was the truth. But the lie was circling my mind through these words: I’d never make it as a missionary. I’d miss the comfortable too much.
For a while, as people joked about me going off to the Congo for the rest of my life, I inwardly panicked. So I whined. God, I didn’t sign up for that. That’s not exactly what I had planned.
Then one day, I reread Martin Luther’s words, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. How dense I had been.
Of course. Of course, I could stake my very life on the Christ who took the Cross for me. What kind of woman would I be if I said no to the very thing He said yes to — for my sake? A cowardly one.
“If when an answer I did not expect comes to a prayer which I believed I truly meant, I shrink back from it; if the burden my Lord asks me to bear be not the burden of my heart’s choice, and I fret inwardly and do not welcome His will, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
I like hot showers, liquid soap, meals that I can microwave, a soft mattress, and my Internet connection. I could never give up those things if I didn’t know Jesus is, after all, my all in all.
Yet He’s the very One I’d give them up for.
As of yet, He hasn’t asked me to go to the Congo. He may in the future. Maybe He never will. But I’m ready to answer now, should He ask that question, should He hold out His hand and ask me to cross another border.
Although the truth is, I feel as if I’ve already walked across a very important border. Because I know what my answer will be.
(written July 2012)