“Ya know, hon,” I blurted, jabbing my finger in the direction of the television. “After watching that, I don’t even feel like a Christian!”
We’d just viewed a documentary based on the life of a renowned Protestant missionary, author and spiritual giant. Amy Carmichael, a predecessor to Mother Teresa, established a similar work with children in India; a work that continues today.
The Preacher nodded. “I know.”
Our felt spiritual inadequacies plunked themselves between us, like a mud splat on a windshield, ousting perspective. It returned when I realized that over the years, God has invited us to shine in dark places too; that he brings different-sized tasks to all his followers throughout their lives. And that often a season of fruitfulness is followed by mud splats on our windshields, when we feel a separation from usefulness.
Amy herself wrote, “Sometimes when we read the words (or see the works – my edit) of those who have been more than conquerors, we feel almost despondent. I feel that I shall never be like that. But they won step by step, by little bits of wills, little denials of self, little inward victories and faithfulness in very little things. They became what they are. No one sees these little hidden steps. They only see the accomplishment, but even so, those small steps were taken. There is no sudden triumph, no spiritual maturity. That is the work of the moment.”
I needed that reminder.
A Christian becomes bold, big, giant even, by continually saying yes to God. By remembering that the “little hidden steps” (and they will never end) speak love as eloquently as big ones – cleaning a friend’s washroom, reading a child a story, making a hospital visit, speaking kindly to someone who dislikes us. And as a pair of good friends has just reminded me, saying yes to God means saying no to fear.
Next year, they’ll travel to a highly insecure country on a practical mission, one that will enable people to hear the beautiful truth about God’s Son. “I can’t live scared anymore,” one said, “Too often, fear has stopped me from doing what I know God wants me to do.”
So they said “Yes” to loving in Jesus’ name. Yes to volunteer their time and skills. Yes to the financial cost of months away from their usual professions. Yes to the reality that Christians are often persecuted, even murdered, in that corner of the world. And yes to the certainty, the blessed assurance, that they don’t go alone.
Surrender to the work of the moment. Take a little step. Go on a little mission. Then another. And watch what God does.