What Ecuador taught me about the Sovereignty of God…
I have been traveling on short-term mission trips to multiple countries for almost 10 years now. Each trip has been an adventure and each one has taught me something about the character of God. In fact, there is not a trip where I have not come away a changed person. However, I never really gave much consideration to the sovereignty of God and short-term missions. Oh, I assumed that God was sovereign and believed it to be so but never took the time to view every detail of what was going on around me as God ordained. I guess there is a first time for everything. We can leave the discussion of what makes short-terms missions trip affective for another day, but today I want to share with you something God did in my life this past trip to Ecuador.
I have been traveling to Ecuador for the last four years every summer. I have had the incredible opportunity to serve and work with a group of faithful pastors in that country, which I would not trade for anything. We have labored together in the gospel in both equipping and discipling the churches of this beautiful country. Many children have heard the gospel proclaimed to them and some have come to know Christ through faith. Sunday school teachers have been trained. Laymen have been built up in the faith. Christ’s kingdom has been furthered by gracious blessings upon our efforts.
Each trip has been different and incredible in its own right. God has put together teams who have served tirelessly with faithfulness to the work that has been set before them. I have had the privilege of leading them along the way as we saw God glorify Himself in numerous ways.
My desire in every trip has been to point the team and those in the country to the matchless person of Jesus Christ. But this time, something else happened. Upon looking back on my recent trip, I am realizing that God was magnifying and exalting Christ in my own heart and mind. Yes, things were very different than in previous years. There were significantly less kids at this year’s camps then in any previous years. The children seemed more rowdy than usual. Multiple circumstances took place that I could do nothing about. I encountered counseling opportunities that I never dreamed would cross my path. The trip was different. The people seemed different. Nothing seemed as it had been in previous years. And why was this so? I could not seem to put my finger on it. And then I realized. I am not in control. God was orchestrating the events and circumstances on this trip – as he has and always will. But this time, I saw it in a fresh light. I realized in a magnificent way that it was not about my expectations or me, but it was about what God was sovereignly working to accomplish for the sake of the gospel. And I was there to be a part of it – to make decisions and plans only as the Lord directed my steps.
I was meant to be in Ecuador which means everything that happened was meant for me to experience and that is an encouraging thought. I leave you with one last thing: if God is not completely sovereign then life is completely hopeless. This is what Ecuador taught me about the sovereignty of God.