When signing up for a mission trip to the bush of Africa, your mind is flooded with expectations. Expectations that you will go overseas and come back with epic tales of what you did, profound stories of how you felt, and life-changing moments of how God grew you.
That didn’t happen for me in Cameroon. It happened in Tallahassee, Florida.
My most impactful moment came two days before I left, sitting on a comfortable chair in my room, by myself, with my Bible in my hands.
In May, I agreed to go to Cameroon to help my friend, Chad, tell the story of his ministries overseas. It wasn’t long until I realized I had no idea what I was doing.
I know God is sovereign, but how is He sovereign in my choice of what camera to use? What if I choose wrong? What if I don’t live up to the expectations of my friends and family? What if I miss the story?
What if I fail?
I started to feel responsible to tell an epic story. To tell Chad’s story. To tell a perfect story. I felt helpless. I felt weak. I felt powerless.
A Perfect Power
When you think of perfect, you think of finished. You think of complete, lacking nothing.
I yearn for that.
It’s funny… you’d think if God gifted you with certain tools in your belt, you wouldn’t need His help to use them. That isn’t the case. Our tools aren’t perfect, and neither is anything I make with them.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
But how does that become tangible to me when I have to make a film for people to watch? How does that help me when I feel like I have no idea of what I am doing? How do I ‘feel’ better?
When you think of power, you think of strength. You think of mighty things; a dynamic experience.
Just like with Elijah, God was not in the wind. He was not in the earthquake. He was not in the fire. God was in a gentle whisper. As I sat in my room reading my Bible, God’s whisper was what I needed. More than any earthquake I could experience across the world, God’s gentle whisper drew me outside of myself to remember and believe one simple truth–
God is Faithful.
Not to my success, but ultimately to His Glory. This wasn’t about me.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me’.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
There was nothing more I wanted at that time than for the power of Christ to rest upon me. And you know what? It already was. I had just lost sight of it.
For me, I didn’t experience God’s power in epic tales across the world, but in peace. A peace that enabled me to freely experience the community in Cameroon and be open to the story God wanted me to share.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Before we step forward in life, we often desire to see a path to walk on, or understand a vision to seek. If we can see where to step, we feel like we can’t fail. But if we can see our path, it is tempting to trust our own ability or ourselves, before we trust our Heavenly Father.
God doesn’t call us to understand fully, but to Trust Him fully.
When signing up for a mission trip to Africa, I felt pressure to tell a perfect story. But I saw my weakness as making me powerless to do so. Looking back, that was the ‘perfect’ place to be.
God was at work.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 1:1-2