How circumstances teach us about glorifying God
Just recently, I learned that I have developed allergy-induced asthma. The cause: an adverse reaction to my constant travel across Ecuador’s vastly diverse altitudes and regions (Coast/Costa, Highlands/Sierra, Amazon/Oriente and Galapagos Islands). The rapid changes from below 0 °C to an extreme 30 °C isquite a shift from the normal temperatures I face.
I’ve been told that my allergy-induced asthma could very well be avoided if I consistently remained in one place at a single altitude. No travel, no rapid change in temperature—this would do my body some good. However, just the thought of remaining stationary in one region causes me to become overwhelmed with panic. I cringe at the thought of how a decision like that would affect the nature of my storytelling and my life in missions.
No part of my life has ever seemed more vital than my need to explore and discover God’s desire for me through service amongst diverse people groups across the Republic of Ecuador.
However, even as I grow to discover the amazing diversity of God’s hand in creation and physically deal with the challenges that it may present, I am growing to become more in-tuned to the call He has placed on my life. I am forever amazed at what He wants to do with and through me, even with my physical challenges.
Today, though I embrace the limitations that asthma aims to have on my life, I don’t accept asthma as the final verdict.
It seems to me that asthma aims to carry more than the mere diagnosis might suggest. Perhaps it’s a cross to bear, of sorts. Sure, the medical explication is sound, but my heart tells me that in dealing with my allergy-induced asthma, I am dealing with a more heightened example of cause and effect here. Perhaps allergy-induced asthma is a larger illustration of Job 33:4, which declares, “The Holy Spirit has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
While the very breath I breathe is His, even my ability to enjoy this capacity depends on His strength, not my ability.
Now, I consider my response to having asthma as another important spiritual lesson for me to embrace: a lesson of being honest about what matters. Quite frankly, I am less concerned about my health impediments than I am concerned with telling the truth through narratives by observing and sharing. Being present on location alongside short-term teamsand long-term missionaries that serve with OM Ecuador, together in God’s presence, is a huge calling and responsibility. Sharing testimonies of missionaries in inter-cultural missions with those prospective local missionaries as we mobilise them to serve is an even greater responsibility.
For you, my audience, I esteem you in a special way to consider what challenge you’re facing and ask what greater lesson could be behind it.
Ask yourself how you could be growing from a result of undergoing the entire process:
Is there anything valuable screaming at you from the whole experience?
Are you making more of this challenge, or is it making the worst of you?
Is there any way that your life could mean more to anyone else that you know?
Could you pass the lessons you learn on to someone who could possibly benefit from the blessing that all this could mean?
All these questions are ones that I'm appreciating and answering honestly, hopefully, in a way that matters. I am confident that what is to come will be much more vital to my testimony or the testimony of someone else. God has a great way of making these realities happen; after all, it’s His will that I’m seeking to accomplish.
And isn’t that what really matters?