"The pastor’s planning a trip to Europe in the fall to visit Christians in some of the Eastern Block countries," my husband related with excitement. It was 1990, the year after the wall came down. "They'd like us to go along. What do you think?"
I gulped and replied with little enthusiasm, "I'll have to pray about it." The more I thought about this trip, the more I didn't want to go. Frankly, I had no desire to leave my comfortable home and travel to unknown lands. Besides, who would take care of our eight year old son? And what if I couldn't catch up on my sleep? Unable to speak the languages, I envisioned hours of difficult communication. I already felt stressed. It would be better if I just stayed home.
Friends tried to encourage me. "It will be such a stretching and expanding opportunity for you," they would say. "Your eyes will be open to so many new experiences. Just think how it will help you in your ministry."
"I just don't see it," I replied. "I see no reason to go."
One morning I again sought God. No sooner had I begun to pray than that still small voice began to fill my thoughts. "I want you to go on this trip by faith. Your trust has been in your feelings. I want you to trust Me and go by faith."
As I pondered the Lord's direction, I also weighed the fact that both my pastor and my husband wanted me to go. I decided that I would choose to go… by faith, not feelings. My feelings about the trip remained the same. Right up to the day we left, people would ask, "Aren't you excited about this trip?" To their disappointment, my consistent reply was, "No, not really."
What a trip! As for my excuses, the Lord covered each one. He provided friends to watch our son. When we arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, new friends provided comfortable beds for us to catch up on our sleep. I felt refreshed by the second day. And...everywhere we went people spoke English. In meetings an interpreter was always provided.
What I had feared and resisted for so many weeks, turned out to be a highlight of my life, the trip of a lifetime. We stayed in the homes of people who had risked their lives for Jesus. We visited a former underground church. We talked at length with a man imprisoned for his faith. One lady we stayed with told us she felt God had sent us to visit her personally. We had ministry opportunities. We ate with believers from several countries. We sang and worshipped and all praised the same God.
At one point in the trip, several of us had a Bible study. In our discussion, my husband stated, "Some people see and then believe and others believe and then see."
Something instantly triggered in me, and I saw a picture of myself in a room. It was a comfortable room and I felt happy there. It was a small space. However, beyond the room were several doors beckoning me to walk in, doors that led to a larger space. I didn't have to walk through any of the doors. I could stay in my comfortable small space all my life, but I would never know what lay beyond those doors.
Immediately I recognized God speaking to me. The small space represented my life. I could be comfortable, happy, and content in my little world with my familiar surroundings the rest of my life. That was one choice. Yet God had provided doors for me to walk through, doors that must be walked through by faith. No knowledge of what lay beyond the doors would be provided without that step of faith. But those doors would enlarge my borders.
Having walked through the door called "trip to Europe," I had seen the wonderful blessings the Lord provided. What if I had not gone on that trip?
God wants His children to walk by faith, not by sight, to leave our small space and embark on expanding journeys with Him. What I imagined "by sight," never happened. I did have enough sleep, language wasn't a problem, and God provided for our son. As I walked by faith, the Lord enriched my life far beyond my expectations and set me in a larger space.
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