Before I get on with today’s thoughts, I owe my faithful readers an apology. It’s been upward of two weeks since my last post and my routine over the last three months has been haphazard and unpredictable.
Now that I’m back from my Japan trip, I expect that – with regards to my posting habits – I’ll get into something more worthy to be called a “routine”. I presume that it will take some time given that this is still a new season of my life and I have all sorts of norms yet to establish. But I have hope!
Now that that’s settled, I want to share something directly from my experience in Japan.
NOTE: I also wrote a guest post for the official Torchbearers Japan website featuring three other takeaways from my experience.
During the months prior to my departure, I asked myself over and over whether or not it was God’s will for me to go. Yes, I was going to volunteer at a Bible school/Christian retreat center. Such an aspiration sounds like something that would doubtlessly please God. On the other hand, I had my own selfish reasons for wanting to go back; it’s an environment where I knew I would feel loved and cared-for. My motives felt anything but clear.
I wished I could be certain that I was about to do the right thing.
In the middle of all the searching and wondering, I probably considered that I would have to decide one way or the other without having the clear revelation from God that I so desired. Some might call it a step of faith.
A few friends and family members commented that they knew I was doing what God wanted. I wondered how they could be so sure when I was so unsure. Or maybe they were saying it because it’s what they thought they were supposed to say.
In any case, I followed through with what I had begun. I signed the agreement, packed my suitcase and parted with my family at the airport.
My reunion with dear friends on the other side was sweet. Even weeks into my time at Torchbearers Japan, it was hard to grasp that I was back at a place I had first come to love two-and-a-half years ago. I felt it was a great privilege.
But I still wished I could be certain that I was doing the right thing.
It wasn’t until I shared these feelings with my friend, the director’s wife, that I had a piece of assurance I felt I could rely on. She expressed how timely my arrival was for her personally and stressed God’s perfect timing. In doing so she put my doubts to rest. Thus, weeks into my service at Torchbearers Japan, I finally felt the assurance that I had – by God’s grace – chosen well in going to the retreat center.
Looking back, I can’t pinpoint the moment that I made the decision to go. There was nothing great about it and it sure didn’t feel heroic. It didn’t exactly feel like a step of doubt, either, but it was certainly full of wondering and uncertainty.
Or perhaps that’s what a step of faith is, after all. Perhaps it never does feel full of faith. Maybe doubts are characteristic of it. Maybe it’s about trusting that God is the perfect communicator and will stop us in our tracks if we need to be turned around. Or trusting that if He allows us to make a mistake, then He can redeem our poor choices in His own way because He is faithful.
Now the discussion
- What does it mean to take a step of faith?
- Have you ever taken such a step? How did it feel?
- In hindside, would you have made the same choice?