There are some pretty high-profile mommy-bloggers on a missions trip to Uganda right now – like BooMama and Rocks In My Dryer, along with several others in their team. I’ve been reading through their posts about their time on the mission field, and the comments people are leaving on their blogs.
I won’t go into the amazing things God is doing through them – you’ll have to go read about it yourself on their blogs, and I do encourage you to do so. What struck me though – other than the awesome stories they share – is how many commenters insist on calling these men and women ‘brave’ and ‘courageous’ for what they’re doing (or in other words, for letting God do things through them). You can see Shanon’s take on it here, and then even after she admits that it doesn’t have a lot to do with courage, commenters continue to call her courageous and brave.
So what’s the problem with that? She left everything to go on a brief trip around the world, leave behind everything familiar, and entrust her children to be looked after while she was gone. That sounds courageous, doesn’t it? But let me ask you this. What’s really courageous about it? She’s facing her fears first of all. But that’s about it. And really, that just amounts to choosing to place her faith in Someone she can trust, rather than in worries and changing circumstances.
There’s a misconception that home is synonymous with safe, and Uganda (or Moldova or Bangladesh or anything else foreign) is synonymous with danger. After all, lions and tigers and bears – oh my! We’re afraid of what we don’t know, and that fear translates into an assumption of danger. But the fact is, safety is an illusion. There is nowhere our safety is guaranteed. There is nowhere we can feel sure of our safety. I could just as easily keel over from a brain aneurysm at home in front of my TV or get hit by a drunk driver and never make it home, as anyone else on the mission field could be overtaken by some unexpected tragedy. Safety is actually no more than God giving you one more breath to breathe. One more day to enjoy His creation. And He’s just as likely to provide it at home as He is somewhere else. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He is the same in the US, Uruguay, and Uganda. Safety is an illusion we give ourselves in an effort to feel self-sufficient, independent. There’s less need for faith when we believe in an illusion of safety.
As for this team serving in Uganda, what they really have doesn’t have a lot to do with bravery or courage. It’s faith (or at least it seems that way from what they’ve been writing). They have faith that God will protect their families while they’re away. They have faith that God will keep their puddle-jumping airplanes in the air. They have faith that He will give them safety in the midst of vipers, unclean water supplies, and a host of other concerns. They have that faith because they know Him for who He is – the ultimate provider of their safety. The Creator of the heavens and the earth. The all-powerful, ever loving Healer, Sustainer, and Lord of all creation.
It irks me when people comment about the immense ‘courage’ of missionaries. It’s not about courage. It’s about a conscious decision to place your faith in the One you know will not disappoint. It’s about choosing to have faith in the most Faithful One. And it’s about knowing that in all reality, He is sovereign, regardless of where you are. After all, is anything too hard for the Lord?