I woke up this morning to a heavy realization: I haven’t left the mission field. And even weightier than that was the understanding that I never will. I might be able to wake up in my comfortable bed to the sound and feel of the heat kicking on. I may have the opportunity to drive my own car on paved roads that are safe, and I’m thankful for that. What I don’t have, though, is the luxury of simply sitting back and enjoying it.
Over these last weeks, my mind has been bombarded with the names and faces of my friends in South Sudan. I find myself wondering where they are, if they are safe, if their ears are filled with the sound of gunshots. I think about the UNMISS compounds flooded with people scared for their lives. I imagine the adults switching back to the familiar mindset of fleeing to save their families. I find myself thankful that I’m not there.
You might assume that this thankfulness leads to guilt: guilt for being able to sleep soundly, guilt for not having to worry about my family, or guilt for the fact that I can sit here in peace typing on my computer and drinking my coffee. But it doesn’t and it shouldn’t.
God’s not asking me, or expecting me, to feel guilty, but He does expect action. The truth is that putting away my coffee maker or giving up my car won’t change a thing. I’m even pretty certain that my being back there, standing next to those brothers and sisters of mine wouldn’t change anything. Those aren’t the things that He’s asking me (and probably you) to do. He expects us to pray. To pray and to believe that this is the most powerful thing we can do.
I would be tempted to say that I am in constant prayer. I participate in a seemingly continuous dialogue with God about different parts of my life: my work, my relationships, my hopes for the future, my shortcomings. I thank Him for His mercy and wisdom, and I pray on behalf of my friends and family. But this morning I woke up convicted; I woke up knowing that I’m not doing enough.
Being a follower of Jesus means that I didn’t leave the mission field when I came home. It means that there is harder work to do still. Today He is telling me that I need to be on my knees. I need to allow myself to feel the pain of the people suffering in South Sudan and cry out to God on their behalf. I need to do the work of believing that He hears me and will answer my prayers. I need to trust that God is loving and redeeming and that my own words to Him are powerful enough to bring change.
Now, as I sit in my house complete with plumbing and electricity, I’m seeing my mission field in a different light. I’m seeing that the gift of living in this place does not go without great responsibility. So I’m committing to do something big for my brothers and sisters in South Sudan; something greater than anything else I can do. I’ll be on my knees fighting for them by pouring out my heart to our loving father. My hope is that I won’t be doing it alone. If one voice is powerful, thousands praying together will be unstoppable. Will you join me in this mission?