Monday, April 28, 2008

Doing Hard Things Needs Faith

Once there was a girl of seventeen who ventured upon joining a mission trip in a remote island north of her country. The missionary pastor who works in that island whom her church supports, often speaks of how beautiful the island is. The island has white beaches, breathtaking cliffs, pristine waters and an undisturbed community of people living peacefully unbothered by a cluttered and fast-paced city life she has. She was drawn into going there even for once in her life and see a real community living without electricity, air-polluting vehicles, and fast-paced technology—a complete contrast to her city life. She has always wanted to see what she has been hearing about the island in the past years. But there is one drawback.

The journey to the island requires strength and courage to press on. The city where she lives going to the island requires a travel of twenty hours or more. The travel is not by plane or any kind of comfortable travel the traveling agencies may offer. The travel is encompassed of 12-14 grueling hours of sitting in a bus with only 3-5 stops in key cities. Upon reaching a very small fish port up north; she will have to cross the sea to the island for six hours in a small fishing boat. No other means of transportation going there unless you own a helicopter.

The journey appeared more perilous because of the sea to be crossed. It is one of the many boundaries in her country where the waters from the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. The meeting of waves between these two great bodies of water poses an unpredictable foreboding weather. The sky may be blue in a minute and in another minute it could be covered with stormy and thundering clouds that could toss the boat into the giant waves.

Life is always at risk when people cross that sea.

She was tearful a few nights before she left. She wanted to back out from the commitment she made for the trip and just stay home rather than risk her life in a journey that does not assure her return. She told a friend that she was scared to go but her friend just grinned said, “Ano ka ba! Do hard things!”

Her mind whirled with thoughts she never thought she would think of—that the boat would be tossed into gigantic waves and she would drown and her body never seen again. Death to such a young life. Shaking off all her distrustful thoughts, she once again entrusted her life to the Creator as she did when she received Him as her Savior. This was her prayer when she made that one hardest of all decisions in her life:

Lord, I am still young. When I cross that sea, I don’t know if I am going to return or not. I will surely miss everybody who’s been part of my life but nothing would compare to the joy that I will receive when I am back in Your arms. Let Your will be done. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

After two years, the girl still lives and is
her remaining teen years in service to the ministries where the Lord has put her. If she had not ventured on crossing that sea, she would not have enjoyed what the Lord has prepared for her—a two-hour sail with white-beached islands in sight and another four-hour sail with nothing in sight but the vast blue sky and the tranquil blue carpet of water; the island abundant of untouched beauty where cows, carabaos, pigs, goats and horses graze freely on
rolling hills; where water comes from fresh springs; where there are no roads but cow paths to follow; where coconut trees flourish and a plentiful of harvest for the Lord—waiting to be harvested by His willing servants.


You may have already guessed by how the story ran that I was the girl who was so afraid that her life will not be spared in the trip.

It is good to offer our life to serve the Lord in the church choir, teaching Sunday school, leading the youth group, playing instruments on worship services and other ministries. I have loved that. But how much of ourselves are we really willing to give up to the Lord?

It has already been a cliché when we say, “Lord, I am willing to offer my life.” “All that I am, I will offer you.” This may sound extreme but, literally, are you willing to die for Him?

If you ask me, I am willing to die for Him but not yet. Life is good with so many things to enjoy. Let’s face it. Not all of us are willing to die very early in life. We avoid every kind of possible danger we encounter. We take the safest route in our road trips. We take every precaution there are. We avoid doing things the hard way. We avoid doing things that would endanger us. If God will send you at this very moment to North Korea to win souls, will you say yes without hesitation? I doubt half of us would do.

In Matthew chapter 8, the Lord rebuked His disciples of their little faith in Him. Jesus, the Son of God Almighty, Savior and Redeemer, was with them physically yet they had little faith in His power and might. They thought that a sleeping Jesus could not do anything against a furious storm.

We too, many times in our life, fall short in our faith in Him. When we are entrusted to do things out of our comfort zone—hard things—we tend to stop and bargain with the Lord first instead of immediately obeying. To share the Gospel, I must admit is one of the hardest things He commanded us to do. At times we are all braced to share the Gospel yet when the minute comes for us to do it we step back pulled by what ifs and buts.

Doing hard things has never been easy—like sharing the Gospel and literally dying for Him. It wasn’t easy when I decided to continue with the mission trip. I was scared. But when I put my faith ahead of my fears, He made me able.

Doing hard things requires a massive faith in Him who makes us able. Doing hard things does not mean enslaving ourselves with grueling tasks but fashioning ourselves into a beautiful character God wants us to be.

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