It has been a little over a month since my grand adventure in Africa came to a painful halt. Rarely does a day go by when I do not think of that sweet place across the ocean and the beautiful people that live there. There are moments when all I want is to be able to share stories and laugh until my sides ache with my host family. There are moments when all I want is a cup of coffee made by my sweet friend BK. There are moments that I wish, more than anything, to be back beneath the Botswana sunshine, teaching a crowd of smiling African children how to play basketball and showing them the love of Jesus.
But for each moment of sadness and longing to be somewhere else, there are ten more moments when I rejoice about where God has placed me now. Right now, I am here. I am a resident of the most beautiful town in Alabama, about to start my second year on the near-perfect campus of UNA. I am here. And God has something He wants to do in and through me—here and now. I can feel Him stirring.
God taught me a lot in the beautiful country of Botswana and in the journeys there and back, but the one thing that rings true in this moment is that He can use me anywhere. Last fall, I had already made up my mind to go to Senegal with the Well college group. No great calling on my life, it was just something I decided to do—a decision I made. But God had an entirely different plan. Chris Underwood approached me just after Thanksgiving, asking me if I’d be willing to serve 4-6 weeks in Botswana with one or two other students. I told him I’d pray about it, but inside I was thinking, “Was that a joke?” You see, I am the queen of homesickness. The thought of leaving my family, my friends, my house for 4-6 weeks was like watching a horror movie unfold. I was terrified. But at the same time, I could not shake the feeling that maybe God was calling me way outside my comfort zone.
When I think of my conversations with God during the following months, I can’t help but think of the conversation Moses had at the burning bush. After witnessing three miracles and audibly hearing the voice of God calling him out to be a prophet to the Egyptians, this is what Moses said in Exodus chapter four:
“Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
My words were shockingly similar.
“Father, You know me better than anyone and You know how panicked I get when I am far from my family for a long time. I’ve always been that way. Also, I’m a writer, not a coach. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do this kind of ministry. I don’t think I’m the right person for this job.”
Though my words and Moses’ words were slightly different, God’s answer was the same for both of us:
“The Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’”
So many times, Christians are called by God to do something “hard” or “uncomfortable.” We panic because in that moment, all we can see is our failures and shortcomings and we lose sight of who God is. We get comfortable, nestled down inside ourselves. We lose sight of the fact that He did not call us out of the darkness only to sit in a dimly lit room. He called us to the sunshine. He called us to step out of our comfort zones and into the blazing light of a life filled with purpose. That purpose? Acts 20:24 says it best:
“I consider my life worth nothing to me that only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
There is change coming. He is stirring among us. Calling us out to a life of purpose. As college students, young adults, in school or out, everyday is new day filled with one more person who needs to know the name of Jesus. So take a deep breath. Remember how powerful God is. Remember what He has done for you. Step out, and follow His calling.
Because, no matter how scary or uncomfortable you feel, all you really have to do is trust Him.
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-29