“I Will Be With You” :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

“I Will Be With You”

Tim Peterson
2:18 read

When I was a senior in high school, I told God that I did not want to be a missionary.

I had grown up as a missionary kid in Poland, but I saw missions as too much work for too little reward. In addition, I didn’t think I had what it took to be a missionary. In my mind, a missionary should be outgoing, dynamic, and eloquent. I was none of those things. I was introverted and independent. I was afraid of public speaking, and preaching a sermon every week was the last thing I wanted to do.

My favorite classes in school were chemistry, algebra, trigonometry, and physics—not exactly essential classes for missionary preparation. Clearly, I should be an engineer. Engineering matched my personality and fit my interests, and I knew that I could work hard and get measurable results. Becoming an engineer made perfect sense to me.

And yet here I am, preparing to return to Poland as a full-time missionary. How did that happen?

God Humbled Me

I could clearly see that people in Poland needed to hear the Gospel, and that there weren’t nearly enough laborers, though the fields were white unto harvest. I felt a deep conviction that it wouldn’t be right for me to simply return to the U.S. and build a career for myself in engineering. I knew I had an advantage in already knowing the language and the culture of Poland, but I wrestled with the fact that I was, like Moses described himself in Exodus 4:10, “slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Who was I that anyone would listen to me?

In Exodus 4, it’s interesting to note that God did not comfort Moses by saying, “I understand your concerns, but you don’t know your own strengths. You will be good enough.” Instead, He reminds Moses that He is fully aware of Moses’ weaknesses. In fact, He, as the Almighty Creator, gave Moses’ weaknesses to him. But He reassures Moses, “I will be with your mouth.” We see this in other exchanges as well, such as when God calls Jeremiah and Gideon. They both doubted that they were the right man for the job, but God reassured them by saying, “I will be with you” (see Judges 6:16 and Jeremiah 1:8).

At that point, I had to humble myself and say to God, “This doesn’t seem like the most logical decision, but I am willing to trust you and take the next step forward. If I’ve missed what you were trying to tell me, please make it clear.” I had to trust that if this was what God was calling me to do, then He would equip me to do it. I had to start with humble obedience.

God Is Strengthening Me

I wish that I could say that once I took that step of faith, a magical, hidden talent sprang up from within, and everything I thought would be hard suddenly became easy. But that’s not what happened.

Interacting with people still takes a lot of energy, and I am often completely drained afterwards. Public speaking is still hard work. I spend many hours studying and preparing, and yet I will probably never be invited to be a keynote speaker at a conference. But that’s okay. I can do what God has called me to do—not because of who I am, but because God is with me. All He asks of me is to be faithful, and His power will be “made perfect in my weakness” (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

God Will Be With Me

Don’t neglect God’s calling because it’s something you don’t think you can do. Don’t cite your weaknesses as a reason for rejecting His call. God uses our weaknesses to keep us humble, and He uses them to bring glory to Himself. As we realize that we can’t put any confidence in the flesh, we realize that we must fix our eyes on Him. We realize that any good thing in our ministry is because He has accomplished it, and we praise Him all the more.

“I will be with you.” What more assurance do we need?

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