The great heroes of the Bible endured long waits, disappointment, discouragement, and real strife, yet were commended for their faith. Noah likely spent seventy-five years building the ark amid many who scoffed at him on the high and dry hill. Jacob toiled seven extra years, a total of fourteen, for the bride he loved. Even the leprous army commander Naaman, who at first went away angry, expecting Elisha to instantly cure him with a wave of his hand, obediently baptized himself in the Jordan River seven times before he became clean. So who do I think I am that I should instantly be equipped for my ministry, though God has not even revealed to me exactly what it will be? Why do I feel disappointed when those who might support me chuckle when they hear that graduation is nearly four years in the future?
Mine are trivial discouragements compared to what lies ahead. They stretch me just enough to make it to and through the next one. God is doing in me what I could never ask or imagine, and He is preparing me for something I cannot even fathom. Every day my heart grows closer to that which lies ahead than that which I leave behind. My grip on the material things around me is loosening, and the reality that we will likely remain stateside only a few more years is firming in the minds of my wife and me. In our hearts, we are already in Uganda loving children not our own and serving brothers and sisters who today remain strangers. In our minds, the Lord has made our calling clear, but in the minds of those around us, we are as lunatics forecasting rain on a high and dry hill where rain has never fallen.
We are looking forward to our visit in April, partly to make new friends, visit mission clinics and orphan ministries, and perhaps view a sample of the work before us – a spying out of Canaan so to speak. A mostly selfish part of me also longs to put an end to the ridicule that comes after the inquiry, “Have you been there before?” What always comes next is, “How do you know you will want to live there?” The answer is simply: God didn’t ask me what I wanted. I asked Him what He wanted.
“Want to” is something I am learning to submit to God, and what I find is that God changes my “want to” to conform to His will if I let Him. Since He has called Cindy and me to prepare for missionary work in Uganda, God has fashioned my desire after His calling. He has made me want Uganda. My heart aches for Uganda’s children every day, and I’ve never met one of them. Not only me, but He has imbued Cindy with the same passion. Why Uganda? I don’t know why, but I know! Why wait? Why a degree in nursing? I don’t know why, but I know I am to become a nurse. I am just doing what I am given to do. “Want to” would not have had me in Uganda. “Want to” would not have had me ministering to others in the first place. “Want to” would not have me investigating the northern territories of Uganda, where war and violence are still fresh and where the Karamajong still fight over cattle and sometimes offer human sacrifices to appease an idol god. “Will do” overcomes “want to” and God, who directs the hearts of kings like a watercourse (Proverbs 21:1), can move my “want to” according to His will.