We’ve all experienced it: no matter how hard you plan, how well you organize and how far you work in advance, sometimes things go south.
Your plans fall through, your well-oiled machine goes sideways or you can’t see far enough ahead to negotiate that curve.
Early on, we learned that that is true in missions as well.
ESPECIALLY in missions where there are many moving parts involving people, budgets, agendas, constraints and a myriad of other game-changers that alter the GPS on the turn of a dime.
So, what do you do? Here are a three things we’ve learned to do when things go south.
You don’t give up.
If you gave up, nothing would ever get done.
When we lived in France it could easily take a day just to get one task finished, depending on how easy it was to find the right store, the right part or the right help. We used to say, ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s another.’ And it usually was.
So you put one foot in front of the other. You call people. You write people. You go out and knock on doors.
Six months into our missionary work in France we were hit with a whammy. I mean a WHAMMY! Our leaders took a turn in ministry in which we could not follow. We decided that we hadn’t come that far to turn back so we stayed in France for a year – by ourselves – waiting on God. He spoke and led us to Belgium, where our ministry flourished. I shudder to think about the opportunities we would have missed had we given up!
You Go North
In other words, you pray!
Too many times, that’s the last thing we do. We run around trying to solve the problem ourselves rather than do like the old hymn says and ‘take it to the Lord in prayer.’
And yet, that’s where the answer lies.
God’s not surprised when things go south. In fact, He might just be the reason they went south. Maybe He wants to teach us a lesson. Maybe He wants to show us ‘that all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.’
Either way, when things go south, we need to go north – before scattering in all directions.
That might just save us time, money and even point us in the direction He intended all along.
Don’t Forget to be Thankful
And when we do figure out what God’s doing in the midst of our ‘southernness’, let’s make sure and acknowledge Him as the GPS self-corrects.
We don’t want to be like the roofer who started to fall and yelled, ‘Help me God’ … only to be caught by a nail and yell back, ‘Never mind God – I got it!’
That nail just might be God.