Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One of those days...

Today ended up being one of those days where I want to crawl into the recesses of the couch with a sappy movie and a carton full of ice cream and a dog on my lap and forget about adjectives like perseverance and initiative. It was one of those days where my plate-spinning skills failed, and the dishware crashed about me in a glorious clatter, and instead of resolutely picking them up and fixing things with superglue… I just wanted to ignore the disaster and disappear. It was one of those days where deadlines and responsibilities loomed like the infamous California Redwoods and stress was induced by both tackling the to-do list and taking a break. It was one of those days where at the conclusion, it seems like nothing was accomplished and I’d rather forget that it existed at all.

In short, we’ve all had those days.

And as I was sitting here, moping, and feeling like I was plodding with the Israelites on the 9th lap around the city of Jericho, I wondered if Joshua ever felt like sitting down.

Not because he lacked the faith that Yahweh would do something or because he didn’t believe they could actually make it. I wonder if he wanted to sit down because he had a stone in his shoe, and his foot was bruised. If his legs were getting tired. If the spear he was carrying was growing heavy, and he was craving a drink of water to wash the dust from his mouth kicked up by thousands of sandals. I wonder if he was mentally checking off where the supplies were being organized and if he needed Eli to recount the figs, perhaps scribbling notes on parchment since he was forbidden to speak of all those things that needed to happen later. I wonder if he tried to prepare his response for the inevitable future work of the Lord, without knowing when or how it would happen.

I wonder if he wanted to sit down.

Not because he didn’t believe that God wouldn’t take care of him, or that his own strength was insufficient and he needed to “let go, and let God” as those sterilized platitudes proclaim. But rather, because those were the tasks entrusted to him by the Lord, and today, he was tired.

We all have those days, support-raising missionaries and Israelite leaders included, where it’s not the big tasks that overwhelm us (rather, when those occur, we brace up against them and do what needs to be done). It’s the little things, the sand that grinds into our shoes and cracks the skin, that makes us weary.

And yet, they kept marching those seven extra laps that last day, because ultimately Joshua knew that being obedient to the Lord’s commands was the only way for such a small, slave nation to successfully enter the Promised Land.

And so I keep sending emails and making those phone calls because I know that partnership with others is the only way that I will get to Papua New Guinea and help bring the Bible to the people from 300 language groups who still wait there.

Four of the letters asking for translators to come and meet their need
The urgency of it makes my whole body just ache, especially when I see letters like these arrive at the linguistic center (the image is thanks to a fellow missions blogger, Joy), or hear the story of the people group who cleared a helicopter pad and planted a garden and built a house in eager anticipation… all of them earnestly begging for a translator to come and give them the Bible.

And they have to be turned down.

Why? There simply aren’t enough translators available to answer the need.

That’s why I keep marching.

But some days, I just want to sit down.