When I was in middle school, I was taught the phrase “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail.” It’s a great lesson. I wholeheartedly agree that as much as we can, we should prepare for what is ahead of us. But I think most of us would agree that there are simply some things you can’t prepare for…. completely.
Marriage- we did 6 MONTHS of premarital counseling, and answered all the questions right. But the struggles we have had were things that we HAD to go through. It’s made us stronger. And they haven’t been things that I could have anticipated before we embarked on this journey.
Children- we have 3 boys. I have read all the books. And yet, I’m daily struggling to do this parenting thing right. It’s a struggle, but a beautiful one. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know the details of everything that parenting would involve, or else I might have decided against it. 🙂
Ministry- same story. We can read all the books, take all the surveys and missions courses, and do everything right. But there are going to be some struggles that we can’t prepare for.
We will have to go through challenges. But God promises He is with us every step of the way.
“Matthew 29:20- …Be sure of this, I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth.”
When we were in orientation, a single missionary lady shared with us her experience of first arriving on the field. She was a nurse, hoping to work in a hospital in Sudan. She had the skills and the heart to serve, and the hospital had great needs, with suffering people. She was SO ready to jump in and make a difference.
But her first day, the hospital head nurse sat her down on a stool in the corner and said “Watch.” So she sat. Same thing the next day. And the next. Every day, she was told to sit in a corner and watch, when her whole being wanted to get up and DO SOMETHING. For months, she suffered through this seemingly useless sitting and watching. But by the time they allowed her to get up and work, she understood so much- how things worked, the culture, the nonverbal communication, the real needs, etc. Things that she needed to understand to really be effective, far beyond simply nursing. As she said over and over again to us, “It had to be that way.”
When a baby chick hatches from the egg, the struggle is a necessary process. It can’t be rushed.
When a rose blooms from the bud, the painstakingly slow process is necessary. God’s timing is perfect and shouldn’t be rushed.
So my encouragement to you is this (I hope this post hasn’t depressed you!)- Prepare. Read the books. Take the courses. And recognize that there are going to be challenges along the way that will frustrate you, but it’s OK. It might just have to be that way. So be patient and trust God and let Him work. He is right there with you.