Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Psalms 5, 6, 10, and 11 are about people in tight spots: people in trouble who cry out to the Lord.
Sometimes missionary life can be tough. A rule of thumb is to take the normal amount of stress that you may encounter in a day in your home country, and multiply it by 3 for a missionary. With that kind of stress, even a minor incident can become a major one in an instant, with misunderstandings and hurt feelings (The argument between Barnabas and Paul, in Acts 15, comes to mind).
And, living in foreign lands, missionaries are often isolated, not quite part of the culture, nor part of what is happening at home. We may find ourselves in vulnerable situations, with limited resources, where our livelihood or survival is at stake: living on the edge (See Paul’s circumstances as described in <st2:bcv_smarttag><st3:bcv_smarttag>2 Corinthians 11:23-29, for example).
Under such circumstances, why would anyone want to become a missionary? Because Jesus calls us. Missionary life is a calling, a ministry, and it has both moments of great joys and moments of great sorrows.
And, how do we get through the tough times? We survive through prayer, organizational ability, a sense of humor, flexibility, creativity, networking, wisdom, godly counsel, and guidance from the Holy Spirit; it is only by the grace of God. Sometimes difficult situations lead us to greener pastures, draw us closer to God, and grow the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Yet, we may still cry out to the Lord.
You may be crying out to God right now. You may be facing difficult moral or physical situations. Your job or spiritual health may be at stake. You may feel abandoned, vulnerable, or physically abused. No matter what your circumstances, good or ill, consider praying: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“That’s it?” you might say. “That is the total prayer?” (paraphrasing Naaman the Syrian in 2 Kings 5:11-12). Yes. Now, look carefully at the first three words: “Lord Jesus Christ.” You are calling on Him. This is an especially appropriate prayer in times of spiritual warfare, yet it is good anytime.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
The Rev. Dr. Shaw Mudge, Jr. (MDiv 1988, DMin 2004) SAMS missionary in Belize
Founder of the OnlineAnglicanTheologicalCollege program