For years, my former pastor and boss encouraged our staff team to participate in an overseas missions trip. Not only would we receive our regular pay while we were gone, but we’d also receive an additional day off to rest when we returned. Sweet deal, right?! But, there was no amount of incentive that could convince me to leave the safety and security of my home for the unknown of a third-world country where I was afraid of the heat, bugs, strange food, and that I didn’t know the language.
For years, I said no when even God nudged me to say yes to that missions trip. My pastor would announce it at staff meetings and the guilt would be unbearable because I couldn’t believe that I was actually saying no to the God that I loved and wanted to serve with all my heart.
Finally, my life verse pushed back against my many fears: Seek the kingdom above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything that you need. –Matthew 6:33 NLT
If I loved God, then I realized that I needed to say yes to going on a missions trip.
But what about everything that I was afraid of? One of my biggest fears was running into a giant spider. I had nightmares of spiders crawling over me at night and that I was unable to get away.
But, when I thought about the words in Matthew 6:33, God’s promise was that if I trust Him and followed where He led me, then God would help me handle my fears.
Whenever people say to me, “Well, God never gives us more than we can handle,” I gently push back and say to them,
“I believe that God allows more than we can handle so that we’ll realize that there are situations that ONLY God can handle.”
On that first missions trip, I realized that my fears were more than I could handle. In fact, I barely got any sleep at night because I was so worried about a spider crawling on me or biting me. Each night, I’d wrap up inside of my comforter like a burrito. I was wrapped up so tight that I could barely breathe. Guess what? God did take care of me because even though I was in humid, tropical conditions, my beautiful host family had fantastic air conditioning. Even though I slept only a little each night, at least I didn’t suffocate!
In the midst of my great fear, I saw God do even greater work while on that trip. We carried rocks to fill a new home foundation for a hard-working mother with seven kids. I taught Jesus’ love through Bible lessons and face-painted dozens of kids. I worked in the clinic pharmacy and saw the life-changing effects of simple medicines that we took for granted here in the US.
My fears were more than I could handle, but God still took good care of me. Even though I didn’t handle my fears well, I experienced God in a great way that changed the trajectory of my life.
In fact, I’ve taken almost ten missions trips over the years. Get this: I’m still afraid of spiders. But, I’m more afraid of missing out on how God wants to use me.
If what you’re facing today is bigger than what you can handle, that means that your situation is perfect for God’s power and might. Seek God first in your situation. He will give you the power and strength to handle whatever comes your way.