Monday, October 16, 2006

Our Mission Field

Recently, I finished a book called, "God's Smuggler", a biography about Brother Andrew and the work he did in smuggling Bibles into Communist countries. I moved on from that book to "Tramp for the Lord", the continuing story of Corrie Ten Boom after she was released from the concentration camp about which "The Hiding Place" was written.

The accounts of these two lives has reminded me of days not so long ago when I not only drempt about but strongly felt God calling me into the mission field. I did take what I saw as the beginning steps toward a life serving full time in missions by working with Campus Crusade for Christ for two years at Towson University. I assumed that eventually I might find myself overseas, specifically China, living out a single life devoted to spreading the gospel, giving up whatever was necessary including my dream of marriage and motherhood, in order to serve eternal purposes. I was sure my life would resemble that of Gladys Alward or Amy Carmichael. However, as I'm finding to be the case more often than not, God had different plans than I once assumed.

Those plans included me leaving my position with Campus Crusade for Christ, planting myself in a local church, marrying and having children, among other things. This husband of mine surprised me on Friday by coming home mid-day to accompany me to Judah's laser treatment. On our car ride down to Hopkins, Lawrence and I began talking about some things, and among those things was church planting. When Lawrence and I were first married, church planting was often a topic of discussion between the two of us. I think back then, I viewed church planting as the avenue God would use to re-direct all the dreams I had as a single for speading the gospel as a missionary. However, when the boys were born and we began to understand all that Judah's syndrome may entail and require from us, I unconsciously removed us from the church planter's list. Inadvertantly, I also began to let go of those dreams of being used for the eternal purposes of spreading the gospel through any mission field.

While conversing with my husband on our trip to Hopkins on Friday, I began to articulate some of these sentiments to him. My husband, along with the Holy Spirit's help, graciously pointed out to me that God has not removed me from a mission field; He's just given me one that I did not ask for or necessarily view as the mission field for me. The hospital, doctors, sick people, the suffering: NOT what or who I envisioned to be my mission field. But, on this trip to Hopkins, the words from this worship song rang in my heart and brought tears to my eyes as I began to allow the Lord to change my visions and dreams for being used by Him in, of all places, a hospital clinic.

Your glorious cause, O God, engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray
Your kingdom come

Let your kingdom come
Let your will be done
So that everyone might know Your name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
Till Your Sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your kingdom come

Give us Your strength, O God, and courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds
Through those who are weak
Lord use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we'll preach Your gospel
Till our dying breath.
(Bob Kauflin, 2006
Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

I'm not sure why I ever felt equipped or able to handle a foreign mission field other than a really bad combination of ignorance and pride. But, to respond to what appears to be an actual call to unsaved doctors, patients, parents of sick children can at times overwhelm me. I do feel so inadequate to be light in this darkness, the one who speaks a timely word of encouragement or sings songs of praise to Judah's Creator when his body does not function normally. But, here is a good a place to be, the place of desperation, the place where only if Christ's power rests on me will there be any fruit, the place where I can truly be used of Him for eternal purposes.

What a glorious cause, O Lord!

As for the specifics of Judah's treatment: apart from screaming bloody murder as soon as we walked down the hallway toward the laser room and all throughout the treatment, Judah did remarkably well with this treatment. He allowed me to apply the numbing cream to his face without throwing too much of a fit, and he did not bruise or blister at all this time. I was so grateful for that.

I will not stop saying thank you to all of you who pray because I know your prayers are availing much on our behalf: not just Judah's physical good, but our spiritual well being as well. We are ever grateful for the good work God is accomplishing in our lives through Judah's SWS, and we are confident that much of it is accomplished through your prayers!


Danielle said...

You sound a lot like me ;) Hey, you're making headway on reading too!

Your post here reminded me of a fantastic quote from Eric Simmons I read not long ago that really convicted me:

"Think about it for a moment. What kind of missionary would go to a foreign city, find a place to live, find a source of income, find where to buy food, maybe find a hobby and a wife, and then kick back and enjoy his surroundings, never befriending the locals. We wouldn’t call him a missionary. We’d call him a resident.

Some of us have lost the fact that all of us are missionaries, and we have taken up residency."

So true. Thanks again for the reminder to live a missional life.

donna said...

Happy Birthday a day late!!!! So sorry I did not call you yesterday. I am glad you posted this. We need to be reminded that as we walk here on this earth where ever that may be we are on a mission field. As moms we are always on the field as we are called to share Christ with our children!!!

Zoanna said...

You sure do have qutie a mission field among doctors. So many of them are so arrogant they refuse to accept miracles. Embarrassed that their hands and intellects had nothing to do with the healing. Every one of us is standing smack in the middle of a mission field. Why do we think we have to board a plane to find one???

Anonymous said...

Just caught up on your blog, and I believe that several of your prayers were answered! He allowed you to apply the numbing cream, no blisters...and hopefully the insurance works out! Why you ever thought about missions I don't know...I don't have any of that in me. I like my creature comforts too well. But in the mission field at least you would be known as a missionary, and people would expect you to speak of God. In hospital clinics, well, they are a different place altogether. No less forsaken though, except we are getting the benefit of excellent medical care. So inyour ongoing battle with SWS, you are the light not to be put under a basket. And, I know that just having that light in a room...well, it does affect people. We are tempted to complain, but we have our glorious Savior to exhalt...and we do have HOPE!! Bri, your blog is always so encouraging to me, your suppleness in God's hands, your sacrifical care of your children (albeit so draining at times), your foundation in his word...thank you for taking the time to share so honestly. I believe you are a pleasant aroma to our God. Much love, Gigi

peg said...

Briana, I'm so thankful for your heart to serve our Lord and your zeal to reach the lost! This is from the Lord and I do believe He is and will use you mightily in the lives of many. Your mission field is just as 'spiritual' as church planting...and certainly as challenging!
It was wonderful to catch up with you the other Saturday. You're a dear friend and I love you!