I resigned from Mercy Ships today. My last day is December 21 – the winter solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year.
Am I out of my mind?
I’m leaving because I have books to write and friends to help and some wrestling to do with God. Not necessarily in that order.
This feels both brave and crazy, but here’s something I know: You can’t steer a horse who won’t move his feet. You must first drive him on.
I too have to walk on, even, and perhaps especially, when the path is hazy and I’m a little nervous. Following Jesus requires forward motion, and at the moment, that’s what I lack.
I’d be lying if I said I’m not afraid to step off this cool platform though.
The opportunities I’ve had with Mercy Ships are unlike anything else. I’ve watched fireflies in Congo and brought 50 orphans to the ship for Easter. I’ve worked with hundreds of incredible Jesus followers from all over the world, and invaded their privacy on a regular basis. I love that ship and her people so much it makes me ache, but as my friend Krissy says:
In the Kingdom of God, your best days are never behind you.
And that has to be true because the Lord Jesus said, the Kingdom of God is like leaven. The only thing leaven does is make things grow and rise.
What do you want to grow? What would you like to see rise in your own life? Think about it because the world needs you operating from that place. Like asap.
For me, it’s writing books and helping stoke the fire that is burning inside you. I want to push you toward your purpose in the Kingdom of God and see you for who you are becoming, not who you currently are. Then help you get there.
But to do it, I’ve got to be brave and walk on, away from my familiar. Put bluntly, I’ve got work to do. But how many times have I demurred because I was overwhelmed by the loss of whatever I had to leave behind? What opportunities did I miss because I, perhaps rightly, didn’t trust my own judgement.
The fact is, my judgment is limited and faulty, but His is perfect. I can’t imagine how I ever did anything brave or crazy without Jesus. It’s ironic that for most of my life I thought my big, broad reach would shrink under His authority, but when I finally submitted to Him, the opposite happened. When I humbled myself enough to follow Jesus, He led me places I never dreamed I’d go.
A friend of mine has pointed me to this scripture many times.
Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs, for you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities, says the Prophet Isaiah.
So that’s what I’m doing.
As long as I stay close – abiding, letting his sap run through my veins, I can walk on, trusting and following the Good Shepherd through what may be green pastures or the valley of the shadow of death. Who knows really?
Want to come along?