We want to go to Thailand and make an impact. Scratch that, we want to make a BIG impact. We have big dreams, big hopes, and are praying for big things.
I’m a pretty results oriented guy. If I have put time and effort into something, I want to see results. On top of this, if others have put time and effort into something with me, prayed constantly, made sacrifices with us, and I feel like it’s in my hands, then I REALLY want to see results.
Because the truth is, if we go to Thailand, and we don’t see impact, or fruit, or lives that have been affected, a big part of me will want to view this as a failure. And I feel like everyone else will look at it that way as well.
All that time put into it, away from friends and family, all that money invested, all those prayers, was all that for nothing?
I really don’t want to come off as a pessimist. But I do think this is a reality we must think about. We are going to a country where they say “To be Thai, is to be Buddhist”. We have an uphill battle even before we get there, knowing that by following Jesus, they would essentially be abandoning their nation’s spiritual identity. A place that has been called a “graveyard for missionaries” because there has been a Christian presence there for over 500 years, yet less than 1% of the nation is “Christian”. We know this will not be a cake walk, and other people have told us that as well.
So does this mean we shouldn’t go? Or all this effort isn’t worth it? Absolutely not. Truth is, when we follow God, it’s not going to be a piece of cake. In fact, a lot of times following Him is the HARDER route (for a primary example, see the cross – Jesus even prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” In Jesus’ case, He CHOSE the hard route, because He knew it was what the Father wanted, and it would glorify Him the most).
As Jesus was suffering, being tortured, and hanging on the cross, even His own disciples denied and doubted him. The guys who walked with Him, saw Him calm a storm, raised Lazarus from the dead. and yet they still doubted.
Often times when things aren’t looking peachy, we doubt. We doubt God Himself, and we doubt if what we are doing is right. We can have this mindset that if we are in God’s will, everything should be super easy, and awesome, and thousands will come to Jesus and He’s going to miraculously provide root beer floats for everyone in the process.
God usually doesn’t seem to work this way though. Look at the parable of the sower that Jesus tells. 75% of the seed that the farmer sows doesn’t reap anything. That’s only a 25% completion rate, a percentage that even a Cardinals quarterback grimaces at (sorry, low blow I know. It’s been a rough year…)
Regardless of what the results are, we are called to be obedient, to be faithful, and to keep sowing. Because as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, some may plant, some may water, but it is truly on God who makes things grow. We must continue to be obedient, do our part, and trust in Him for the rest.
We don’t always know or see the impact that our actions have. Just like a small stone being thrown into a pond. The stone doesn’t see the ripple effect it creates on a pond that ends up being so much bigger than the stone. We don’t always see the ripple effect our actions can create.
So we walk into this – we are going to continue to dream big, pray big, and want to make a huge impact. But even if the results aren’t evident, we are going to continue trying to be obedient and faithful in the little. We will continue to do our part to glorify Him, and pray that God uses it to bring glory to Himself. Because He is GOD – and He is so much bigger than our failures, mistakes, or lack of results. He can still use those things to shape us, and give Him glory. We must trust in Him, even during the hard times, and pray even if we can’t necessarily see it, that our actions are used for something so much bigger than we can see, and create a ripple effect.
What about you? Have you experienced a hard time recently (or maybe are in one right now) and you are trying to see where God is working in this? Can you think of times where you weren’t sure where God was in something, but later you were able to see him at work? I hope this encourages you. Continue on – be faithful, be obedient, and put your trust in HIM alone; not in ourselves, not in our actions, or the results that we want to see, but continue to glorify Him in everything. God may be using you to create a bigger impact than you even realize.
“Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” – William Wilberforce
This is just the tip of the iceberg… to find out more about what our ministry in Thailand will entail, sign up for our email updates here.