In our short ten days on the mission field, God reminded me of the sins in my life, while at the same time, He just as strongly reinforced the grace with which He covers those sins. Throughout the trip, I learned about the consistency of the gospel and how unchanging God is, no matter what the context or the culture. To be honest, our trip was a fairly comfortable one. We slept in a hotel, were able to shower every night, only had one ministry per day, and slept more than enough. After a couple days on the field, I started to question whether or not what we were doing was in fact “missions” work. In my own sinful and selfish view of missions, I felt as though to be on missions, I needed to be suffering—if I wasn’t sick, dirty, and exhausted, then I wasn’t doing it properly. Then, in one of the group homes we visited, God reminded me of how immensely selfishness this thought was. As I watched the children sing, dance, and light up with joy as we gave them their gifts, I realized how jaded my view of missions was. Whether I was comfortable or uncomfortable, dirty or clean, sick or healthy, exhausted or energized, the gospel didn’t change. I may change, my environment, culture, language, and conditions may change, but God is completely steadfast. How self-centered had I been to believe that I wasn’t doing missions work unless I was suffering? God didn’t need me to suffer—in fact, He didn’t need me at all. His work being done wasn’t contingent on my experience on the mission field. I was so incredibly humbled and rebuked by this reminder of His sovereignty.
Before we left India, we were able to visit a Hindu temple. Stepping into the courtyard, I was surrounded by many idols of different colors, shapes, and sizes. It was terrifying. More than the overwhelming presence of the idols themselves, I was wrecked by the emptiness of the souls of the people in the temple as they offered food and gifts to the idols. Here they were, fully believing that their offerings would bring them good luck and blessings. As I stood there, I was even more overwhelmed by the realization that I was just as wretched a sinner as any of the people in the temple. They may have been bowing down to and praying to physical idols, but how different was that from the idols I placed in my life? Every time I chose anger or pride over love and compassion, every time I looked past my bible to the TV, every time I spent money on things I didn’t need, wasn’t I giving in to my idols, wanting to be blessed by what the world offered me? I was just as foolish as the people that were bowing down to plastic idols. In fact, I was much worse because I, knowing the truth, knowing that God was the only true Savior and Lord, still gave so much of myself to things that weren’t of Him.
Throughout my time in India, I was constantly reminded of my inability to keep from committing sins, and the fact that God so perfectly covers those sins. As 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” As such, I am continuing to pray that God’s grace is sufficient for me, and believing that in my weakness His power is upon me.