You can be bold in your faith. Yes, you who are reading this right now!
Perhaps you feel like you can never live up to the lives seen in missionaries throughout history or those whose unfailing belief in God has been praised throughout the pages of the Bible. Perhaps you find yourself wondering, “why would God ever choose to use someone like me?”
When you think of medical missionaries or missionary work in general, do you assume they are born very courageous? That they have received an impartation of boldness that others have not? This is not necessarily the case all the time, although God definitely is faithful to answer the prayers of those who ask for His help. So when someone needs more help and asks, they will receive it–especially when they are doing something that reaches people who need to know Jesus! People who do Christian-based service dedicate themselves to serving God on the mission field. They also push through fears and difficulties that may produce changes within them that strengthen their beliefs. But even if you are not a medical missions volunteer yet, this is also true of your life. You can learn to be bold too.
You Have Authority Over Fear
All believers have been given authority over fear. They can choose to walk in the hope of the Lord. Not only when they do their usual activities, but also when they arrive in a new territory. There can be areas of life in that new territory that God plans to use to stretch our faith. Any place we already have a history with Him–or don’t–is fair game. He loves us and also ultimately wants us to be like Him. God can use difficulties and new events in our lives to help us grow in faith, wisdom, experience, and confidence. Having scripture in our hearts can also help.
Scriptures to Encourage You to Be Bold in Your Faith
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (ESV)
God is faithful to respond to us when we pray. Sometimes He responds even when we do not know what words to pray. He is our deliverer, bringing clarity and peace with Him.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” Romans 8:15 (ESV)
We are able to call upon our heavenly Father when we are in trouble or about anything concerning us. He is our Father–that means something. He is also God…and that means a lot too! With God on our side, we can do all that we are meant to do.
The entire book of Hebrews is dedicated to the topic of faith, and is contains many good words to keep planted in your heart and mind. Any of the books of the New Testament books of the Bible that talk about the travels and trials of the apostles and new disciples of Christ are encouraging as well. We get to read what they went through, to an extent, and see the way they spoke of themselves, one another, God, and more.
You Can Do Difficult Things
It’s true–you can do difficult things. We are created to be amazingly resilient people who face challenges every day. As we build up more of a history with God, we get to see scene by scene that we are capable of so much more than we might have ever thought possible. It’s all through Christ that we do these things, and that is who empowers us. With God behind it all, you can be bold in your faith. If you want to become a medical missions volunteer, know that it is important work to God, and He will help you when this is part of the purpose of your life.
Be Bold In Your Faith
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:19
When you are on the mission field, you will see a lot of people who have less than what you have when it comes to personal belongings. You may even see a lot of poverty depending on the location you are serving. It is easy to see these things and start to believe that the Lord isn’t providing for these people.
You may feel sadness or even guilt if you compare your “blessings” to theirs. But a perspective shift has to happen. First of all, blessings come in more forms than “stuff.” Secondly, You have to believe that if YOU care about the suffering, pain, or needs that you see around you, then God absolutely cares as well!
Take this story about Elijah for example:
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’ Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.’ So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” –1 Kings 17:1-7
The Lord took care of His child Elijah. But He didn’t just hand Elijah food and drink in the way we think God would do it. He had him drink out of a brook and be fed by scraps from the birds. God cares for His children in peculiar ways to bring glory to Him through the process!
So how does that story relate to what you may see on missions trips? It shows that God cares about all of His children and provides for their needs in ways that bring Him glory. And sometimes the way He takes care of others is through you and me! It may be peculiar for God to care for those in one country through the work of those from another, but He makes a way! One example is that God sends teams of people like groups from Mission Partners for Christ and our local mission partners to care for the physical needs of those in Ethiopia, Liberia, or other locations. I bet people in those countries would have never imagined God caring for them in that peculiar way!
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” –Matthew 6:31-32
Though the Lord provides for our physical needs, the biggest need He promises to provide for is our need of grace. It’s a free gift we can receive and share with others at all times! Just like Elijah had to remind himself during times where he felt alone and hungry, “The ravens are coming!” we get to tell ourselves in times of hopelessness, “Jesus is coming!”
This is faith in action.
Believe the Lord provides!
As children of God, we have all been given unique gifts. Strengths are such an important part of understanding a person and the way God created him/her, yet we often don’t take the time to explore our given gifts/strengths. We volunteer for specific jobs or tasks, but they don’t always align with our gifts and talents. If we want to make the most impact in the world, we have to start living in a way that honors our given strengths.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” -1 Peter 4:10-11
If you are attending or leading a medical mission trip, I challenge you to spend time beforehand really delving into individual strengths discovery. There is a free Character Strengths Assessment participants can take here. Leaders should have participants send the results to them, and then the entire team can meet together for a debrief to follow. Be sure that everyone involved in the trip takes this assessment (leaders included).
Here are questions leaders can ask during a strengths discovery debrief with the mission’s team:
What surprised you about your results?
What pleased you about your results?
How do you think your results will positively impact the team?
What responsibilities during the mission’s trip experience do you believe would fit well with your unique strengths?
After these questions are answered, leaders should work hard to allocate roles based on the strengths of the team members. Responsibilities should be given to the ideal person for the job based on his/her strengths. And remember, the best kind of team is one that is well-rounded.
“A genius in the wrong position could look like a fool.”
Your vision for your trip will be better accomplished when you include strengths discovery in your preparations. Think about it. Some participants have never explored their strengths, so not only will they be able to discover the ways the Lord created them but they will, for the first time, get to live into their strengths while on the trip! This will increase the impact they will make and transform the way they live from then on!