Yesterday I said good-bye to a team of business students who will be working to proclaim the Good News in Central Asia. It was a bittersweet departure because originally I was scheduled to go with them. I had trained with them for months, bonded with them, and was looking forward to how God was going to use our team overseas. However, due to unforeseen (but good) circumstances, the difficult decision was made for me to stay here. God graciously provided another leader, and I trust that God will do a great work in and through them. I’m looking forward to hearing their stories when they return.
I imagine that all of us have had similar circumstances in our lives. Expectations that we thought would come to fruition, and yet God had other plans. Relationships that we thought would last that turned out to be temporary. A promotion we thought was ours until the day it was given to someone else. A chance for assured success that turned to failure. The opportunities slipped through our hands and we’re left to ponder what God is doing. Sometimes He gives us glimpses into His plan in the moment; many other times He does not.
Yet whether we see God’s hand in the flux and changes of our lives, His child can have confidence that it is there. He is, after all, working all things – good and bad, foregone chances and captured opportunities – for their good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Missed opportunities are often His way of doing something unexpected, of changing the direction of our lives in ways that we may not anticipate. This can be scary at times, but like Lucy learned about Aslan, we can trust that He is good. Safety was not promised for the Christian in this life, and we should not expect that our lives will not be rattled in ways we did not expect, but in the midst of the uncertainty, we can trust in the constancy of our King (Heb. 13:8).
While I hope to have another opportunity to lead a team overseas, I trust in God’s perfect provision and plan regardless of whether that is the case. I know that there was a reason that I was the team’s leader for 6 months, and that there is reason that another is leading them now. What may feel like a missed opportunity for many is really the chance for more people to experience the blessing of serving. And to see how God will use it to accomplish much for His Kingdom.
Postscript – I would love it if you would join me in daily prayer for the team. You can follow their journey here: http://blogs.calbaptist.edu/mob/category/central-asia-business/