In eight months on the mission field I have already been challenged in so many ways. I felt fairly well-equipped to come here and do what we set out to do. But it’s been one of those things that the more you get into it, the more you realize how inadequate you are. I heard a man once talk about his father who was a master stonemason. He recounted how his father could read the stones knowing the exact right place to put the chisel and precisely how hard to swing the hammer so that the stone would fit just right. I often feel like one of those stones. The chips are flying. It hurts, but hopefully after it all I’ll fit where the Master wants me in his house.
One of the ways I’ve been challenged is theologically. A major life change can shift your perspective on scripture. Also, being thrust into a leadership position brings new weight to decisions made based on the text. I’ve had to struggle through some things recently that I previously thought I had a firm hold on. I’ve prayed about these issues asking God just to give me a clean-cut answer so I can move on. I think my mistake is that I imagine having the answer will somehow bring me closer to God. The truth is that my theological struggles have driven me to my knees multiple times. It’s actually the questions that bring me into the presence of God, not the answers. And so, on some things, I remain answerless, but having been blessed in spite of it.
These newsletter articles are usually opportunities to share news about what’s happening with the church and the team here on the field, so thanks for allowing me to share something a little more personal and introspective. I do that in hopes of encouraging you to wrestle with the difficult questions you have about God, church, life, death, and doctrine. Like my namesake, the patriarch Jacob, I will continue to wrestle with God and beg for a blessing, though I hope to walk away with less of a limp.