Quite often during the superintendent remarks we learn of mission work happening in some remote part of the world. But does mission work have to be in a far off land or exotic country? Of course not. At times we have heard stories of mission work being done in our own backyards. In fact I’m sure we all do mission work of one form or another on a daily bases.
This morning I want to share with you a little bit about some mission work that God has put before me and how it all came about.
But first, a little bit of back story. Does God sometimes remove us from our surroundings, or allow us to choose on our own to be removed, in order to teach us a valuable lesson? Maybe to prepare us for the work that He has for us?
I praise God that He does and we even have many stories in His word of how He has done this with others. One story that comes to mind is that of Moses.
As you know, Moses was raised from about the age of 12 until adulthood by Pharaoh’s daughter, in the palace of Pharaoh. Due to being raised in such an atmosphere, the Spirit of Prophecy says that his view of God’s work was tainted by the “mysticism of a false religion, the splendor of idolatrous worship, the solemn grandeur of architecture and sculpture…” all of which had a negative effect on his mind. PP 248.
But at the age 40, all of that changed. Moses was removed for a second time in his life from what was familiar to him. He was forced to leave Egypt and to tarry for another 40 years in the wilderness.
During this time, God prepared Moses for the great work of leading His people out of Egypt. This was a much needed time for Moses.
PP page 247 says “Man would have dispensed with that long period of toil and obscurity, deeming it a great loss of time. But Infinite Wisdom called him who was to become the leader of his people to spend forty years in the humble work of a shepherd. The habits of caretaking, of self-forgetfulness and tender solicitude for his flock, thus developed, would prepare him to become the compassionate, long suffering shepherd of Israel. No advantage that human training or culture could bestow, could be a substitute for this experience.”
So the man that came out of the wilderness was a different man than went in to it. Moses was not the same. God had completed a work in him that could not have been accomplished by human effort. In fact, this move went against everything that this world holds as important or defines as success. Praise God for His wisdom in these matters and that He doesn’t just leave us to our own devices.
Another example of God’s patience with one of His own is found in the story of Elijah. After spending an amazing day on Mount Caramel with King Ahab and all of his false prophets, Elijah ends the day by running for his life and flees into the wilderness to find safety. We find Elijah in a cave, far away from where God wanted him.
But did God turn His back on Elijah during his time of doubt? No. In fact, it was quite the opposite. God sent an angel to feed Elijah not only once but twice so that he would have strengthen for his misguided journey. Had God sent him on this journey? No, but God was with him just the same. This is such an amazing example of how patient God is with his children.
Eventually, when the time was right and Elijah was ready, God asked him “What doest thou here, Elijah?” And Elijah was able to hear the message God had for him.
Now on to how all of this fits into my experience. Most of you are aware that until about 3 years ago, I was working as a nurse in surgery. Over the years I had worn many different hats in this department, which in the beginning included caring for patients prior to and after their surgical procedures. During this time I had come to believe that I needed to keep attaining a higher and higher position in order to be successful. Because, doesn’t the world teach that with success comes happiness?
But unfortunately, while trying to move up the career ladder, pride and envy were fostered and it didn’t take long for Jesus to no longer be the reason for my work. Yes, there were still isolated instances of God working through me but these encounters became fewer and fewer. I was constantly judging others and thinking that I should be doing something “more important”.
And of course, throughout this time, deep down inside I was miserable. Looking back now i’m able to see that I didn’t enjoy the work I was doing because I was in it for me. I was critical of many of those around me, thinking I could do a better job than they. And the truth was that I had become so negative toward management that I was blinded to any good they were accomplishing. And believe me, when you choose to focus on the negative aspects of something, you will find plenty. You even get to the point where you are deceived as to what is right and what is wrong.
Continuing on with this mind set, I then took a promotion that removed me from direct patient care, thinking that this would be what would make me happy. During this time, I found myself, day after day, sitting at a desk, completely by myself, the only interaction on most days being with others via Zoom meetings or phone calls. It was a true wilderness. But God used this new job to put a mirror in front of me so that I could see who I really was. And I didn’t like what I saw.
But by His grace, over time, God helped me to understand the work that He had for me, just as He had done with Moses. Thoughts kept coming to me: Was my work a witness to others as to what Jesus had done in my life? Was I even in a position to spread the end-time message that He has for the world? The answer was No.
It took over two years working in this new role for me to finally get to the point where I could hear God.
Suddenly, I felt God was calling me back to the same work that before had made me miserable. Looking back now, it was as if He was saying to me just as He had to Elijah “What doest thou here?”
Not long after this. I took a position back in the same surgery department, doing the same work I had begun 15 years earlier, caring for pre and post-op surgical patients.
But this time something was different. It was as if I was looking through a different lens and was able to see on a daily basis the amazing witnessing opportunities before me, whether to those I was directly working with or to patients I was caring for. Through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, the scales had fallen from my eyes.
Because of the work that God is now allowing me to do, the same work that before I thought to be so unimportant and unfulfilling, I am able to pray daily with patients and have even had multiple opportunities to share about Christ’s soon return. Besides the work of a mother and wife, I don’t know of a greater calling for me at this time. Isn’t it wonderful how God takes a circumstance that to the world appears to be moving backwards and uses it for His greatest good.
I’ve discovered that very seldom does a person refuse an offer for prayer. I have even had the privilege of witnessing a patient give her heart to Christ.
Now when I go to work each day, I see things differently than before. Yes, I am there to help with physical ailments but that is just a side job. I now see my department as a mission field, no different than if I were being sent overseas to some far off land. God has work for me to do.
And I can’t even begin to describe how fulfilling it is to know that you are doing His work. There is no greater peace this side of heaven then knowing that you are doing God’s will.
Are there still trials, Yes. Satan still tries to tempt me into believing that I would be happier doing something else. But as the verse in 1 Corinthians 10 :13 says “God is faithful and with the temptation will also make the way of escape. “
I share this story with you today for two reasons. First and foremost to give glory to God by sharing what He has done in my life. We serve an awesome God.
And second, to encourage others who might be walking down the same path. God has a work for each of us to do. Sometimes it is right where we are and other times it is somewhere else. And sometimes He needs to take us on a side journey in order to help us understand what that work is. Are you willing to let Him take you on that journey? Have you discovered the mission field that God has for your life? Or Is God asking you “what doest thou here?”