Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Frustrated and inadequate, yet never more confident in Christ

For the past 9 years, one of the key components to my life and ministry was my ability to communicate. Whether I was good at it or not is debatable, but talking about the gospel was something I could do from all kinds of angles. However, in the past few weeks I have been reduced to a mere infant all over again. Sometimes trying to get my words across by grunts and charades.

As frustrating as this is, what is even more frustrating is that even when I can communicate the gospel it becomes very apparent that I have no ability to convince anyone that Christ is the way, the truth and the life. It does not matter how well my argument is crafted, how well thought through my words are, how good my illustrations are or even the ability to prove their belief system is misguided and lacking. The message seemed to fall on deaf ears. 1 Corinthians 4:4, which says “…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God”, has been given greater clarity in my mind the past few weeks. I cannot describe it any better than that. The minds and hearts of many in Africa and all over the world have been blinded by Satan and the darkness is overwhelming.

You may be thinking, well of course it is not about your ability, but about the God in which salvation belongs to. And yes, if pressed this would be my answer, but it has been too easy to believe that somehow I am responsible for the salvation of souls, even though I know this is opposed to Christ and the scripture. This lie from Satan is what wants to hang us up. It’s what makes us envious for praise for our part in someone’s salvation or growth in Christ. It’s what destroys us when the message of Christ is rejected by our friends and family. And it’s what keeps us from sharing the gospel because of our fear of not doing it well enough or feeling as if we are not qualified to labor for the gospel. These lies are from Satan and are his ploys, used to make us take our eyes off of Jesus Christ, “…the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), and keep our eyes fixed on ourselves. And if we are honest with ourselves, maybe we can see in some way how we even have believed that lie.

My supervisor continues to say the same words to me again and again and I believe this sums up the problem very nicely and has become a great comfort to my soul. “God’s sheep hear His voice.” When hearts seem to be held captive by the power of darkness, “God’s sheep hear His voice.” When all illustrations are used and reused, “God’s sheep hear His voice.” When words are lost and darkness seems to prevail, “God’s sheep hear His voice.” God’s Word will prevail, God’s Word penetrates the darkness and has “…delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14). This is humbling considering we also were once lost and just as we heard God’s voice call to us, others will hear the voice of God call to them as well.

So therefore, proclaim the gospel confidently, for Christ saves lost souls, and He does this for His glory alone by using simple people like you and me. People who don’t know everything, people who have problems and sin, people who are uneducated, people who stutter, people who the world would cast off as nothing. Because in the end, it’s not about us, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelations 7:10).

Take it from me, almost anybody can share the gospel better than me at this point. But it’s not about my ability or inability and it’s not about yours either. “God’s sheep hear His voice.” Be faithful to share God’s Word with everybody and anybody and expect the words of God in Isaiah 55:11 to be true, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” May you find comfort in these words, not because you are strong but because Christ is.

1 comment:

  1. Still praying for the Fox family! Despite how hard it may be to communicate fluently right now, you didn't even know how to say "Mate gaham" when we left in July :) Keep up your awesome work, we're praying for you! Hope your new home in BB is coming together nicely!