A little over three years ago, my husband and I were sitting in church and our pastor presented the congregation with an opportunity – a medical mission trip to Egypt. I ignored his offer while continuing to scan over the bulletin but then Phillip leaned over and said, “You should go.” “Where?” I replied. “To Egypt.” I laughed quietly and shook my head, “No way.”
Over the next few days, I thought about what Phillip had said. I couldn’t shake the idea from my mind. Nothing about it seemed logical. Yes, I was a nurse, but I was a maternity nurse with no experience elsewhere. I had never been out of the country except for a vacation in Jamaica. Although I still was working at the time, it was very minimal so if I left, Phillip would have to take off work to watch the kids. And, oh, big one – I was pregnant. No way was I going to a foreign country while pregnant!
But God sometimes does a funny thing when we outright say no to something that He wants us to do – He keeps persistently bringing it up. Over the next couple of weeks, I had conversation after conversation with Phillip about this potential opportunity. Our pastor sought me out to say that he thought I should go. And I felt that the Holy Spirit was whispering, “Yes” to my questioning soul.
So I began to entertain the idea but yikes, it was scary. There was a deadline that I needed to make my decision by, so after weeks of praying and feeling the overwhelming sensation that I needed to do this, I spoke the words out loud to our pastor and told him that I would join the team on the mission trip. With fear and trembling (haha!), I even told my parents who about fell off their chairs and were adamantly opposed to the idea until I told them that I felt like the Holy Spirit was leading me to this. You can’t deny the Holy Spirit! Even with all the inward feelings of confirmation that I was following the Lord’s leading and taking a step of obedience, I was absolutely terrified!
But in the fear, there was God.
The weeks leading up to the trip were a blur as I planned and prepared and planned some more for me to leave. I felt sure of what God had asked me to do and yet the fear, doubt and questioning entering my mind was relentless. Satan was winning the mind game he was playing. As each day passed and we got closer, the feeling of dread and doom got stronger and stronger. I was believing the lie that Satan was feeding me that if I went on this trip, I would die. Fear literally was taking over, but there also was a tiny voice inside of me urging me to press on. Praise God for His sometimes quiet but always present voice.
The Sunday before we left, I stood in the second row in our church, with my husband beside me, my children surrounding me and my unborn child within me and I sobbed uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop. It was totally the ugly cry too, snot coming out, shoulders shaking. I was a mess! How would I ever be able to leave my family? What was I thinking? This was the worst possible decision I could have ever made. I clearly heard wrong from the Lord, because anything He would ask me to do would not be this hard, right?
But just as relentless as the doubts rising in my mind were, so was the voice within me.
God speaks to us in so many beautiful ways. Through his word, through friends, through songs, through sermons, through events. He speaks in the quiet and in the chaos. But He often speaks to us through our inner voice.
After all, if we are believers in Christ, He Himself resides within us.
As the hour of departure approached, the voice of fear started to quiet and the voice of truth started to reign. I had every logical reason to fear and yet I had every spiritual reason not to fear. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. God had proven himself to be faithful to me over and over throughout my life. He was clearly “for” me and I had no reason to fear.
I said my goodbyes and then turned to join our group in the church parking lot and an overwhelming sense of peace overtook me. Tears streamed not from fear or sadness but out of awe of the One who offers true peace. God asked me to take a step of obedience and by His power working within me, I had the courage to take the step. In that moment, I knew that whatever happened on that trip, I would forever be changed because of that one step of obedience.
What has you fighting against fear? While the tactics of the enemy can be strong, God is fierce in His love of you. He is for you. “In the morning, in the evening In your coming, and your going In your weeping, and rejoicing He is for you” (The Blessing by Cody Carnes). Even though the voice of fear may be knocking on your mind’s door, the voice of love is knocking on your heart’s door. The Savior of the world is FOR you!
How has God asked you to take a step in obedience? Friends, I am praying courage for you because while taking that step can be terrifying, it may just be the best thing you will ever do in your life. It may feel risky but being risky for Jesus is the best way to live! The Holy Spirit even filled me with so much courage that I rode a camel overlooking the pyramids while 17 weeks pregnant!
Going to Egypt that first time, and then again last year, opened my eyes and my heart to so much more than I could ever imagine. Not only did I fall in love with the country, the people and the food, I fell deeper in love with my Savior, and for that, I would give anything.
God, give us courage to step out in obedience to you.