The transition ending my time in Thailand and beginning a new journey is coming… SOON. Honestly, I was feeling pretty discouraged about it for a couple weeks. Things aren’t exactly where I would have wanted them to be with the people and ministries I’ve been pouring into. I thought with enough preparation I would be able to leave things, not “complete”, but at least packed in a nice tidy box that I could hand to the next people and that would allow me to feel like I accomplished something. I wanted to have some control over how things were left.
But things didn’t go according to plan, which I should have expected. Things that shouldn’t have been a concern, became a set-back. The fruit that I had been seeing seemed to be lost. Everything seemed to be moving backwards.
One day I asked God what this season of my life looks like and, at first, a picture of me running a race popped into my head. I pictured that last hundred meters of a race where you just give it all you got, use every last bit of energy you have to push yourself across the finish line. But then the Lord corrected the scenario going on in my head. He said, “You’re not in the final sprint, you’re in the letting go.” Suddenly, I saw that I’m not in my own race, trying to win MY victory. Me leaving is not the end. But I’m just one leg of the relay, one part of the fulfillment of God’s dream in this nation, in the village where we minister, and on this team.
“The one who plants is not anybody special, nor the one who waters, for God is the one who brings the supernatural growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:7
Last week we came across a Christian in the village where we do outreach. We went and found her at her home after we heard Thai worship songs playing. She was very sweet, but also discouraging. She has been living in the village for 12 years. For many years she would host a Christmas party at her house, but no one came. So the past couple years she gave up trying altogether. She explained to us how the people in the village have their own belief and that is all they know, and they don’t want anyone to come in and change that. She went on about the gods they worship and the traditions they follow and how they don’t want anything to do with Christians. I knew a lot of these things but listening to her experiences I began to wonder if we were wasting our time there. But then I had a realization. She may have lived there for 12 years and hasn’t seen any fruit, but she’s lived there for 12 years. 12 years of praying. 12 years of blasting worship music while she cleans the house. 12 years of reading the Word of God. All just a few doors down from one of the families we are now teaching about Jesus.
She might not have been able to collect the harvest in the years past, but we are starting to see buds now. The fruit is coming.
In Hebrews it says the heroes of our faith didn’t even get to receive the fulfillment of the promise but they saw it by faith. Sometimes we don’t get to see the fruit of our labors, but we continue to obey. We’re not responsible for the fruit, but we faithfully plant and water, obey and wait. We trust that the roots are beginning to grow, reaching down deeper into the soil, before we see anything sprouting up above land.
It’s time for me to let go. To trust that I’m not responsible for the fruit, and I’m not defined by the fruit. He’s got a plan that is so much bigger than me. I’m just a piece of the puzzle and I only see a small part, but I trust the One who sees perfectly. I don’t understand what is happening now, but I know that one day I will. And until I see the fulfillment of the promise, I will choose faith and hope and love. Especially love.
Is there something you’ve been pushing for that you need to let go of? Is there something you’ve labored for that you’ve begun to put your identity in? It helps to remind yourself that the work didn’t start with you and it won’t end with you. Stay faithful. Obey and wait. Keep loving Him and others. God is working under the soil, preparing a harvest that we can’t even imagine!