The past week has been more than a little eventful. I spent the weekend in Minneapolis, MN for John Piper’s Desiring God Conference. Here is a link to the sermon’s/speakers. I encourage you to take a listen (especially David Platt and David Sitton). For the most part I’m still processing the conference. It’s a lot to digest to say the least.
The theme for the conference was “Finish the Mission”. The idea was to spur conference goers to the idea of reaching the unreached across the globe for the sake of the gospel. There are over 3,000 people groups who have never had access to the gospel and about half of those groups are unengaged (no mission organization is targeting them). Most of these groups are in South East Asia/the Middle East.
While sitting in the conference, my mind kept drifting back to the thought: will this passion last? It was so encouraging and exciting to see thousands of people exhilarated about missions but for how long will their passion burn? The inner cynic inside of me says it won’t last long but I pray and hope that I’m wrong. Mission work is unglamorous in nature. Kind of like whittling away at a boulder with a spork.
Right now, my biggest takeaway from the conference is a willingness to die for the gospel. Before going to the conference I was having a pretty consistent stream of nightmares about being martyred and the process of dying was really terrifying to me (not death itself). David Sitton gave a moving sermon about how Jesus is worth the torture, pain, heartache, trouble, and death. The gospel is so worth it and if our treasure is in heaven… why is our earthly treasure so important to us (for to live is Christ… to die is gain...)?
I spent all night Friday night crying in my hotel room to God in fear (literal tears... well not really… my eyeballs were probably just sweating). I was so afraid for my life. I just didn’t want the pain. I didn't want to risk my body, my teeth (seriously...), my health, my comforts... I didn't want to experience torture, malnourishment, or physical pain on any level. But John 12:17 came to mind and I repeated it through my tears. Here’s the poem I prayed:
Fear, taps delicately along aortas,
Hitchhiking on the backs of Red Blood Cells.
A Chesire grin draped over his face,
He quickly tiptoes across
Fertile soil, leaving a trail of feces in his wake.
Images of shattered teeth,
Broken bones and wounded loved ones
Flash through my mind.
Still shots of gun shot wounds
Tortured souls, and bloody nubs
Threaten to unearth the foundations
Give me rest in the eternal presence of an eternal Father.
In a few seconds, it will all be over.
In a moment, the rushing of air
Will bring with it an exceeding brightness.
And I will be with you.
Leaving my heart purged from every fear.
For now, it’s back to reality. Seminary homework surrounds me in bundles and I’ve got some serious catch up to do in OT Greek. I don’t know what God requires of my life, perhaps he even requires it… but to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. Death isn’t the finale but rather the crescendo that ushers us into the presence of our King. In a few moments… it will all be over. For right now, that’s my antidote to fear.