By, Amanda Goodroe
I heard a missionary from Mexico speak while I was visiting my sister’s church a few months ago. Hearing his stories of serving the people there brought tears to my eyes. When I met him afterward, a friend asked him what advice he could give me, someone who is about to spend some time on the mission field. He leaned his tall frame over so he could look me strait in the eyes and said, “Keep your eyes on Jesus”.
As someone who had spent years on the mission field, he could have given me any number of suggestions for how to prepare to live life as a missionary. But that one phrase will stick with me wherever I go and whatever situations I encounter. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Trust. It is the long-standing issue in my relationship with Jesus. For the past several years, the verse that I’ve come back to over and over is Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
I never thought of myself as having trust issues. But, I definitely like to have some degree of control over situations in my life.
I have always thought of myself as a problem solver. If you have a problem, then I can find a solution. This can be a good thing, because it lends to creativity and quick-thinking on my feet. However, in my relationship with God, I need to give up my problem-solver mentality.
Saying “Jesus I trust you” and still trying to make things happen on my own is not really trust.
I discovered this when I was 17-years-old and had my first car accident. After slamming into the back of a semi, totaling my car, my little sister getting hurt, and it all being my fault, I turned my anger at myself to anger with God.
How could you let this happen to me? Didn’t you say you would protect me, stop bad things from happening to me?
As I struggled with this, the Lord brought a Bible story to my mind. In Matthew 14, Jesus is walking on water toward his disciples in a boat. When Peter saw it was Jesus walking on the water he said, “If it is really you Lord, then tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said come, so Peter stepped out of the boat. Peter decided to put his trust in Jesus, to get out of the boat and walk on water. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on the water. As soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus and put his eyes on the wind and the rain, he began to sink.
I realized that was exactly what I had been doing; I took my eyes off of Jesus and put my eyes on the storm. For those of us who are problem-solvers, this can be a hard habit to break. The storm is the problem and I want to look at it, examine it, and formulate a plan on how to beat it, but while I am examining the storm, I always begin to sink.
In preparing for an 11-month mission trip, there are a lot of stormy things to deal with. Fundraising, packing, getting shots, gathering documents, and dealing with the emotions of how to leave all of my friends and family behind tend to cloud my daily life. Every time I feel overwhelmed, I simply offer my cares up to the Lord, turning my eyes to Him.
Handing over control can be hard. I still have to make an intentional effort to do so every day. When I do, complete peace comes and fills the part of me where worry and anxiety dwell, and somehow, it all gets done. Everything I was worried about falls seamlessly into place, and Jesus receives all the glory.
We all have stormy situations in our lives, whether in relationships, job or family situations, or stress about school. But in every situation, if we keep our eyes on Jesus and hand over our worries to Him, He will never let us sink.
Amanda Goodroe is a senior at Louisiana State University studying Mass Communication with a focus on print journalism. Amanda went on her first mission trip at age 16 to Costa Rica. This sparked a passion for other cultures and people groups around the world. Beginning in September, she will spend 11 months traveling the world as a missionary and will be blogging about her experiences traveling the globe with only a backpack. Amanda enjoys reading and drinking as much tea as possible.