Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one-
I am talking like a madman-
with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings,
and often near death.
Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.
Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned.
Three times I have been shipwrecked;
a night and a day I have been adrift at sea;
on frequent journeys,
in danger from rivers,
danger from robbers,
danger from my own people,
danger from Gentiles,
danger in the city,
danger in the wilderness,
danger at sea,
danger from false brethren;
in toil and hardship,
through many a sleepless night,
in hunger and thirst,
often without food,
in cold and exposure.
And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.
Who is weak, and I am not weak?
Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness...
on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses...
[the Lord] said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
This passage from 2 Corinthians- a letter from the missionary St Paul to his support team- reminded me of another letter I recently read, also from a missionary to her support team. OCMC Missionary Maria Roeber said this:
Sometimes the work seems so large and daunting, and I can get distracted by all of the countless things on my “to-do” lists. I can become overwhelmed and feel like I am alone and that it’s impossibly difficult work —I feel incompetent and helpless countless times a day. I often think that I am faking my way through being a missionary, that I am in no way qualified to do the work I am attempting!
Like St Paul, Maria remembers that her own weakness allows God’s glory to be manifest:
I should remember who it is who is sending me, and also who promises to be with me to accomplish the task at hand—God Himself. The many challenges I face in my daily work are not things I have to overcome on my own. If I remember to pray, if I ask God to help and to guide me, then He can and does help me!
Missionaries- starting with St Paul!- sometimes talk like a crazy person. We can be adrift and in danger, sleepless and exposed, and overwhelmed with anxiety. We are weak- so weak, that we have nothing to talk about, nothing to boast about, except our own limitations and inabilities- our own weaknesses.
Please pray for your missionaries. Pray for their struggles and weaknesses. Don’t pray that these things would go away. But rather, pray that they continue to rely on nothing less than the grace of God, so that the power of Christ can be made perfect in their struggles and weakness.
Some resources for you:
- List of OCMC Missionaries by country. From this page, you can read updates from missionaries to their support team, and you can join their support team by starting to pray for them and communicating with them. Send an email to one of the missionaries, and ask to start receiving their updates.
- Prayer for Missionaries. Missionaries are able to do what they do out of their weakness, only by the power of Christ through your prayers. By praying for missionaries, you are participating in their work.