Who doesn't want a quick answer from God?
So often when devoting our lives to God through long-term missions, there are times when we feel we could be more productive doing something else than where God has placed us. Last year, several much anticipated YWAM Myrtle Beach training schools were canceled mainly due to the lack of students. As missionaries, it’s not always easy to say our mission is flourishing, there are times when we feel like our time has been wasted here when we could be more productive like when we were serving in Asia. There are times when we miss people and places where we have served in the past, and long to return again. My wife and I have been on staff at YWAM Myrtle Beach since 2014, and this upcoming summer, our two year commitment with them will be drawing to a close. Over the past several weeks, I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to set aside my time to fast and pray for my families future steps. Sure enough, I went to a Monastery that was nearby to seek the Lord’s wisdom and guidance for our next direction. I wanted a peace of mind to know for certain if where we are at now is where God wants us to be, or if we should return to Asia to serve with YWAM there.
During my time in the Monastery, God began to speak to me. He started by gently convicting me and showing me that me seeking to “get away” was not about Him, but it was about me. I went there because I wanted something from Him. All of a sudden I realised that I became the focus, rather than God. This is often called “egocentric spirituality”: when everything revolves around "self" rather than God. Fasting and praying is a good spiritual discipline and should be practiced by Christians. However, when "self" become the focus, it is like expecting spiritual matters to work like fast food. You go to a fast food drive thru, place an order to receive your choice food, and receive it at the counter immediately. Often we unknowingly have that expectation on God when it comes to prayer. The problem is… God is not a fast food chain for a quick fix!
Another thing that God gently convicted me of was that I put Gileroh (our son) on a pedestal. Unconsciously, I’ve allowed myself to view him as the bargaining chip when it comes to our families decision making. While it is not wrong to have good intention for our children, when our children become the excuse for not loving God and not obeying Him, they can become our idol. Once the Lord showed this to me, I immediately repented of this and accepted His forgiveness.
Once I acknowledged that it was about God and not me, He began to speak clearly to me about how the issue is not a matter of going or staying. God's favor will be upon us regardless of the location as long as God is honored and glorified in all that we do! After discussing our dilemma with our base director, we strongly feel we should finish the commitments we have with YWAM MB until next summer.
But the lessons that I learned from my time of fasting and praying with the Lord is something I will carry with me and continue to apply to my life. Sometimes God needs to convict or discipline us, just as any loving father would discipline their child. I am forever grateful for God’s correction and guidance in my life, because I know He disciplines those He loves.
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
— Hebrews 12:5-6