The airport is empty at 3:00am. A storm delay pushed our 9:50pm connecting flight to 6:35am. It’s too long a wait to stay awake, but too short to get a hotel room. My wife sleeps at the airport while I watch over our things. All of this is happening at the end of a long journey.

Denied visas meant scrambling to find a new field, and this survey trip did not go as expected. Meanwhile, four kids who thought they would be on the field by now are homeschooling at my in-laws house.  They are eager to greet us when we get home with a list of questions.

“Did you all figure out where we are going yet?”

“Can I go to my old school friend’s birthday party?”

“Will we celebrate my birthday before we go the field?”

All of these questions are met with the same answer: “We don’t know.”  The same story from Mark 4 has been playing in my mind. The disciples are caught in the midst of a storm, and Jesus is asleep in the stern. At last, in desperation and fear, they wake Him.

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

My heart echoes this cry: “Do you not care that we are running out of time? Do you not care we have nowhere to go? Do you not care that our supporters will begin to wonder if we are really supposed to be missionaries? Do you not care if our children have friends?”

Of course Jesus has an answer for His disciples. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” It’s a loaded question. I wonder how many questions are contained in this one.

“Do I only control the storm when you are aware of it?”

“Am I only God when you see me working?”

“Do you really believe I called you without purpose and my plan for you stops here?”

“Do you really believe I would let you drown?”

God reminds me that He has a reason for the storm and a season for its endurance.  He reminds me that His calling and purpose for our family has not changed. He still knows what He is doing and, unlike us, He knows why He is doing it. Nothing has caught God by surprise; nothing has changed in His plan.

So, we will put our trust in Him. Even if the strength of our arms fail at the oars, even if the boat we are in starts to leak, we know that Jesus is there. We know that He has commanded us to go to the other side of the sea and by His power we will make it safely there… even if, at the moment, it appears He is resting silently in the stern.

Live for Jesus.

Michael Small

Michael and Sarah Small have served in vocational ministry for 16 years and desire to provide theological training and encouragement to indigenous church leaders in Latin America. They, with their children, are beginning language school in October in Quito, Ecuador. Michael holds an Master’s degree and will begin work on his Doctor of Education in 2019 at Southern Seminary.

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