Step outside your comfort zone, your fears, your insecurities, Haley.” I am often told, if Peter can trust Jesus enough to walk on water, we should have enough faith to take a small step into the unknown. The problem is, I am not like Peter. He acted before he thought. I think before I act (long and hard, by the way). Before I take a step in any direction, my brain goes through all the possible scenarios. Is this safe? Can I trust myself to actually trust God? Is it the best approach? Is it what the Lord desires? How cold is the "water"?
Sometimes, God asks me for an immediate response. He knows I like to process things but He asks that I simply step out of the boat without first testing the water. He asks that I let go and leave behind those fears, doubts, and insecurities because I do not need to depend on myself and my own abilities. All I need to do is trust in Him. This is exactly what occurred during the fall of this past semester.
I heard the Lord beckoning me to fill out a missions co-leader application through my university. I was honestly petrified. Me, the one everyone describes as “shy,” “quiet,” “precious,” the one with the “small, adorable voice” can in no possible way co-lead a team to another country. I am not charismatic or loud and authoritative. I told Abba about these insecurities. “Maybe next year, Jesus? I am only a freshman.” But all I heard in reply was, “Do you trust me, Haley? It is not by your strength but by Mine alone.” Although I felt incapable of leading, I did know that I could serve.
Thus, I found myself answering a phone call a few weeks later saying that not only was I accepted but would I consider leading a Spring Break trip to Guyana. From that moment I hung up the phone, I knew that every decision, every aspect of the trip, had to be put completely in the Father’s hands. There was no way I or my co-leader could do this without Him and succeed. It is humbling to admit, but during the months following of preparing, praying, and training, I would often feel overwhelmed to the point that all I could whisper to the Lord was, “Through it all, my eyes are on You. Not my will but Yours, Daddy…”
Darling, when we offer our trials and vulnerabilities to the Father, I cannot begin to express how faithful He is to help us make it through. This does not mean He takes the problem away, but He does strengthen, support, and guide you. I am as grateful as the character, Much-Afraid, was in the book, Hinds Feet on High Places, that Sorrow and Suffering are hers and my companions. It is in their company that I might grow spiritually strong in my weaknesses.
Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You.
I cannot begin to describe the beauty I witnessed; starting hours after our plane landed on Guyana’s soil. So many lovely people’s faces and names come to mind when I hear the word, Guyana. Yes, we led church services and a youth night, spoke and performed skits in schools and a hostel on the subject of human trafficking, visited a hospital and prayed for the ill, painted a mural on a future girls’ home, and visited two river villages. However, those are only things that we did. More importantly, it was about whom God touched through us and the people in turn who touched us. It was the individual interactions with people in these environments that made all of the difference. It was the hours that we spent playing with the neighboring Hindu children during our off hours or the late night conversations with our amazing contact, Mr. Kadolph and his dear friend, Mr. Jerry that were impactful. It was that one moment during a night service in a river village called Orealla where a team member, Anna, and I prayed and wept with a woman for an hour over her worries and wounds and then ended the evening by dancing joyfully together until the church kicked us out because it was getting to late. I cried the following day when that same woman walked the extra mile to come say good bye to Anna and I before going to work in the heat the rest of the afternoon. Finally, it was the many faces of the beautiful young girls we met who’s eyes were so full of innocence but knowing that that innocence could so easily be snatched away. These were only a few of the many moments that left a deep impression on my heart; impressions that may have only been engraved in one week but will be tattooed permanently for a lifetime.
In Isaiah 52: 7 it says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,?the good news of peace and salvation,? the news that the God of Israel reigns!” I can declare how beautiful were the hands and feet of my team members as they served, spoke, and delighted in the friendships they developed in South America. I took special joy in watching my team experience aspects of the character, nature, and heart of God in newfound ways. We had not even left the country when God showed my team members that when we ask Him into a difficult situation, He would provide. After praying because of luggage difficulties, everyone was able to check their baggage without penalty by His grace alone. Seeing the light in their eyes at the realization that God cares about the seemingly silly things like luggage was a detail I cherish. To witness their experiences made my heart so happy.
The glory is all the Lord’s. From the outside, we appeared to be a young team of inexperienced college students who were taking a week from our normal, stress-filled schedules to travel to a country we had never been and speak on anti-human trafficking. However, God knew the hearts of each on our team. My eyes are again beginning to water as I think of how God used both their gifts and strengths as well as their weaknesses to bring Him glory and share His compassionate love with such gentle people.
Perhaps, like me, you feel like God is calling you to do something that you feel you have no business being apart of or qualified for. Perhaps, you even feel like your fears are logical. However, I challenge you not to put yourself or God in a box. Never underestimate what the Lord can do both in your heart and the hearts of the people you encounter when you are following the Father’s will.