Monday, September 19, 2011

Called To Chaos


Last Spring I attended the Mid Term and Short Term missionary training at World Venture Headquarters in Colorado. During the weekend of training, I had an experience that I have until recently been unable to express in writing. One of the sessions was lead by a counselor and the topic of the workshop was preparing for cultural transition and the issues that accompany Culture Shock. They explained the transitional process and what will happen to us as we move out of one place and settle into ministry in another. The five basic stages are Dis-Engagement, Leaving, Chaos, Entering, and Re-Engagement. Through out this session, I kept quiet. Knowing that my trip with the amount of travel and transitory nature of the project would have some unique challenges. It is possible that I could be in a different country every 6 weeks. So when the presenter opened the floor for questions I raised my hand. I explained a little about my project and then asked the question, “How do I expedite this process? How do I go through this these 5 steps every 6 weeks?” “You won’t.” She looked right at me and with tears in her eyes said, “You will spend most of your time in Chaos.” I was crushed. I had been hoping to glean some tip or trick that would make it easier to deal with the difficulties. Thank God there was a break, cause I had to leave the room and get outside. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Standing outside, looking up at the Rockies across the horizon, I cried out to God, “How can you ask me to do this? Do you really want me to leave my friends and family, my home, my church, all these blessings You have given me and knowingly walk into 2 years of Chaos, of loneliness, of stress, and trail, of homesickness, of darkness, and despair? Is that really what you want for me?” His response couldn’t have been clearer or harder to understand. “Yes. It will be the hardest trial of your life. You will experience hardships you can’t imagine. You will be in Chaos. But I will be there. Will you be with Me?” Tears were running down my face by now. There was no comfort in His words. No promise of His sustenance provision, or blessing. He assured me of hardship, pain, and suffering. Someone who doesn’t know Christ would think this trip fool hardy. That it is unwise to disconnect yourself from your support network of friends and family and knowingly place yourself in a place of danger, hurt, and Chaos. Why would I ever want to do any of this? The secret is in God’s question to me. “Will you be with me?” George McDonald’s poem Obedience beautifully expresses the struggle I felt and the decision I have made.

 - By George MacDonald

I said: “Let me walk in the fields.”
He said: “No, walk in the town.”
I said: “There are no flowers there.”
He said: “No flowers, but a crown.” 
I said: “But the skies are black;
 There is nothing but noise and din.”
And He wept as He sent me back –
 “There is more,” He said; “there is sin.” 

I said: “But the air is thick,
 And fogs are veiling the sun.”
He answered: “Yet souls are sick,
 And souls in the dark undone!” 
I said: “I shall miss the light,
 And friends will miss me, they say.”
He answered: “Choose tonight 
If I am to miss you or they.” 

I pleaded for time to be given. 
He said: “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem so hard in heaven

To have followed the steps of your Guide.” 

I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?” 

Then into His hand went mine; 
And into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light divine,
The path I had feared to see.

I will be in Chaos. I will be with Him.