Praying for a Reason to Stay
“Lord, I don’t need anymore reasons to go; I am completely ready. Just say the word, and I’ll move to Swazi. But if you want me here, I need you to give me a reason to stay.”
Although I’d like to think that I was ready to live in Swazi at any moment the last two years, I most definitely was not. I was not ready to cut the ties and the roots here in the States to move freely to Swaziland. My heart was not steady, my mind too inconsistent. What about now? Now I’m ready. For reasons I cannot completely explain, for the first time since I moved back to the States in 2011, I am finally ready to go. The pros and cons list is not needed; the reasons to go far outweigh the reasons to stay. While there are numerous reasons why I’m still here, the main one is that I felt the Lord calling me to the American youth and teaching has been the most incredible platform for which I can fulfill this mission. But this year, that platform has taken a different shape.
I have offered ministry opportunity after opportunity to pour into certain youth; I have rearranged weekends, made in-depth plans for Bible studies, discipleships, youth groups, etc. I have made it very clear to a great number of youth that I am here and waiting, just waiting to pour out my knowledge and love and inspiration to them. I’ve been praying for opportunities. But no one has taken them. No one. Pained by the apathy and inconsistency of the youth, I feel as if I’m coming up dry. I think back to Fr. James’ sermon he gave a year ago, that has stuck with me ever since: “Are your nets coming up empty?” He preached about the story of Jesus calling Peter to put his nets back into the water after coming back empty-handed from a long full day of fishing. Fr. James’ question, “Are your nets coming up empty?” has not left my heart ever since because indeed my nets have been empty. Fr. James continued to preach about all the opportunities we have and that many things seem to be “good things,” but sometimes they simply are not fulfilling and the Lord has a better ministry planned. “Maybe you need to move your boat,” Fr. James continued. “Maybe you need to find where Jesus is calling you, so he can tell you to put your nets back in and fill you up.”
My nets are empty. It’s only October, and I’m already wondering how I can make it through the school year. The strange thing is I adore my kids; this is probably the best group of students I’ve had so far; yet, something is missing. With no avenue to pour out my heart and who I truly am as a servant of Christ, I feel as if I am just going through the motions.
All of that being said, I’m still not clear whether this is God’s way of helping me cut ties and making my transition easier (as I have specifically prayed for) or if it’s satan’s way of interfering with a mission that maybe is not yet complete. All I know is that my nets are empty and I can’t function like this much longer.
So, Lord, as I’ve prayed before: “If you want me here, please give me a reason to stay. If not, here I am, Lord; send me.”