This morning I woke to a power outage. No obvious reason for it – no windstorms, no snow, nothing but rain. Nonetheless, the house was dark. I tried reading my Bible by candlelight but that was nearly impossible. I switched to a flashlight, but the small print made reading an arduous task. I finally closed my Bible and crawled back into bed until the power was restored an hour later. To think I lived for two full years without electricity once upon a time.
Missions Fest Vancouver was held this past weekend. Gene and I manned our International Messengers booth, and I taught two workshops. We spoke with so many people and answered so many questions that my voice is hoarse today.
When doing missions conferences such as this, I’m always thrilled to meet parents who are actively encouraging their kids to become involved. It grieves me to see the opposite happen. And believe me, it does. It’s disheartening….no, it’s tragic…to meet solid Christian young people who want to pursue missions only to have their parents dissuade them. In many cases, it’s because of the parents’ fear for their kids’ well-being.
I can understand their emotions. After all, I have three kids of my own, and they’ve all traveled abroad for missions. I know what it feels like to watch your teens board a plane or a train and wave goodbye with no guarantee of their safe return. And yet, I know I can’t protect my children 24/7 even if they stayed on North American soil. Is God not big enough to keep them in His care no matter where they go? Isn’t being in the center of His will the safest place to be?
This morning I read about a mother and brother who hesitated to let their daughter/sister leave home to see God’s will fulfilled for her life. That girl was Rebekah – Isaac’s bride. Abraham’s servant had identified her as God’s choice for Isaac. He’d asked for her family’s approval to take her back to Abraham’s country. They’d agreed, but changed their minds when it came time to say goodbye. “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go” (Genesis 24:55).
I’m thankful they were open to negotiation. When Abraham’s servant protested, they said, “We’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied, “Yes, I will go.”
I love what they did next – they sent Rebekah’s childhood nurse with her, and they gave her a blessing: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies” (vv. 57-61).
Rebekah was willing to go far from family and friends because God was obviously working in her life and directing her path. Her family respected that. In fact, they sent her on her way with a helper and a blessing. Do we do the same for our kids? Do we respect their willingness to go when God is obviously leading them, or do we clench our dreams for them in a tight fist? Do we send them on their way with financial and material support, or do we cave in to our fears for their well-being?
When God ignites a passion for missions in our kids’ hearts, let’s fuel that passion and encourage them to follow Him. Is doing so easy? No. But God’s grace is sufficient.
Have you ever struggled with this issue? If so, how did you overcome it?