We knew going in that it would be impossible. The mission field God led us to was a place of innumerable needs, and we were completely incapable of meeting those needs ourselves.
Here was this place, packed to the brim with dozens and dozens of emotionally and spiritually starved children, teens, and young adults. Each of them had experienced significant trauma, and most of them had been exposed to varying levels of physical violence and neglect in their young lives. Their physical needs were astronomical, and their spiritual needs even greater.
It would be an understatement to say that the task was overwhelming. It wasn’t just a mountain we couldn’t cross, but an entire mountain range of impossibility that needed moving, if we only had the faith.
But we also knew that God specializes in the impossible. We knew he had led us there. We knew he saw the needs. We knew he can move mountains. And so with complete confidence, we assumed he would pick up that mountain range of impossibilities and throw it into the sea in a spectacular display of power over the enemy and his strongholds. God’s name would be lifted high, children would be rescued, saved, and raised up for his glory, righteous churches would root and flourish, and we would get to see it all firsthand.
But as it turned out, that wasn’t his immediate plan at all.
While he may well have all of that planned, and while we still pray fervently that he does–he didn’t take us there to see it. He took us there for something else entirely.
We thought he took us there to live the rest of our lives.
But he took us there to die.
In this dying place we experienced hurt and struggles beyond belief.
In this dying place, we birthed dreams–beautiful dreams, godly dreams–and then buried them.
In this dying place, we planted seeds of love, grace, and hope, and watched them sprout–and then watched as they were choked out.
In this dying place, the very mountain we begged God to move crushed us beneath its impossible weight and buried us.
Yes, God took us there—not just to stretch us—but to break us and then bury us. And in the darkness and silence of being buried, we thought, “Surely, we are done and there is nothing more for us.”
But as one of my favorite sayings goes, “The seed must first die in the ground before it can live and grow and produce.”
You see, it is in the dying place that we are born.
It is in the dying place that we find that the seeds of true Hope, true Grace, and true Love, can never be choked out.
It is in the dying place that we learn who we really are, who God really is, and that He alone is able and worthy of glory. Not us. Not our church. Not our mission. Not even the precious people He died for.
And it is in the dying place, when we have reached the very end of ourselves, that He says, “Now. Let’s begin.”
Psalm 118: 5, 6, 17 “I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me…I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”
John 12:24-25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”