It has been a while since I have posted anything in this series, “Questions I am asked”. Of late, I have been asked a number of times now a most strange question. I don’t recall being asked this question before a few months ago, but since then I have been asked 3-4 more times. This question is the subject of this post.
“What is the greatest thing you fear?”
I was a bit taken back. This is not a normal question, or is it? I have never thought about this. What is the greatest thing I fear? I have spent a lot of time focussing in on preparation, the “how to”, the language and culture acquisition, but I have not given any thought to what I fear. I was asked this same question in 3-4 different churches. So what is the answer to this question? What is the greatest thing I fear in going to Argentina, in learning the language and culture, in proclaiming the Gospel, in starting churches, discipling new believers, in training men?
I don’t know. I don’t fear failure. My identity in Christ is such that “success or failure” on the mission field does not make my Heavenly Father any more pleased with me. The disciples had power from Jesus. They were sent out and excited to see the results of what went on. Jesus turned their eyes to something else, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20). Their “success” wasn’t what Jesus wanted them to focus on, Jesus wanted them to focus on their identity in Christ! I don’t fear danger. It seems that people have stories of the dangers of Argentina. I tell you that Argentina is as safe and as dangerous as any other country in the world. There are places in my hometown in Georgia that seem “dangerous”. Bad things happen everywhere. We may certainly be robbed, beaten, or even killed, but those bad things are possibilities here in the United States. I don’t fear those things here, and I don’t fear them there. I don’t fear Argentina for my family. My wife and daughters have adapted in Peru and Chile during our internship there. They got around, made friends, and enjoyed themselves. I know hard times are ahead, but I believe my family will adapt and get through those hard times. I don’t fear losing support (one Pastor told me that they asked a missionary what he fears most and his answer was loss of support once he was on the field). I believe God has called us, I have worked hard and God has (and is) giving the increase. I believe God has built and will keep our support.
“I don’t know” is not the best answer. There are things I don’t look forward to (like the struggle of finishing up language school or not understanding the culture as I learn and adjust) but I don’t fear them. I leave you with a verse. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28. Fear God, don’t fear anything or anyone else.