It usually goes something like this:
“Yay, we’re going to be missionaries! We love the nations! God’s glory! Passion! Finish the task”
Then, “It’s okay to be uncomfortable. Different isn’t necessarily bad. We can do this.”
Finally, “I’m just not cut out for missions. The missionaries here aren’t cut out for missions. I’m never leaving home again.”
Those lines in particular really resonated with me. I left the following comment, but decided to share it here as well:
Either God didn’t exist, or he hated us.
Ow, this is so familiar. My wife & I went to Japan, expecting to start concerts of prayer that would lead to revival. The culture itself would be no problem, as we had both grown up in Japan as missionary kids.
After a year, we concluded that either God didn’t exist, or he hated us. I imagined returning to the States and never volunteering to lead any ministry again, because it might bring up the fact that I had once been a missionary. And I wouldn’t want that to get out, because it would only fill me with shame.
At our lowest point, we met other missionaries who were much more seasoned and long-term than we were, yet were also at a low point. Together we prayed, desperately. And our small group (we called the group “the gropers” because we felt like we were groping in the dark) experienced revival. Miracles. Prophetic guidance. Physical healing happening before our astounded eyes.
And then, just when we thought again that we were going to conquer the world, the leaders of our group lost their son to leukemia. Despite all our prayers, prophecies, and apparent signs to the contrary, he died. We were all rocked, helpless, confused.
Maybe God doesn’t want us to be “strong” and “successful” after all.
As I wrote in a worship song, “Teach me the power of total dependency.”