Eleven hours before I was Hawaii-bound, I sat in the passenger seat of our Honda CRV, weeping. My dad and I drove to Target to pick up some travel items when I began doubting my departure altogether.
There in the parking lot, we talked through why I should or should not go.
I felt like I had very legitimate reasons for no longer returning and many would agree. With my financial situation and physical health having hardly budged in the direction I hoped, it seemed like I would be setting myself up for failure if I left.
The confidence I had just days prior when hosting a missions event was gone. This missionary temporarily lost sight of the mission. Reality of circumstance suddenly took precedence over faith.
One of my biggest fears—the fear of failure—had begun to consume me because of the lies I had given way to in my mind.
What happens if you cannot fully do what you feel so called to?
Consoling me with patience and grace, my dad said, "Remember, Erika. You are not a human-doing. You are a human-being." It caught me off guard.
This truth was the very truth I had wrestled with the last three months of ministry. And so the snot bubbles continued, no longer giving me a chance to maintain composure. Clearly, the deeper issue was now exposed. It was not really about whether I was healthy enough or had the money I needed.
The question really was, "Do I trust God with these areas of my life? In my health, my finances, my ministry?"
I've wrapped my identity and worth around the good I am able to accomplish for God and for people. When you think about it, it is silly. I can do nothing apart from Him. Who am I to think I must please others or prove myself to be a heroine of sorts?
That night, I remembered the yes I had given God.
There are two lines in David Brymer's "Wedding Song" that say, "And then I hear You call my name—it's the sweetest voice I know. I will leave it all behind, Lord—where You go I will go." Those words were my heart's cry; the words I read publicly at two missions events just days before.
But sometimes, I must tell God things and then I forget.
Or I tell Him in a swirl of excitement and emotion, unprepared to actually do what I just willingly said yes to. (like going wherever He leads.)
I didn't expect the "going" to feel so painful or risky that Tuesday night. Yet knowing God is worthy to be trusted, I packed up my suitcases and stuffed away my fears.
It's been two weeks since that Tuesday. I am back in Hawaii, and there is not much more that makes sense to me.
Daily, I am being challenged to place my trust in Him.
I am continuing to discover He is the One who understands my greatest fears, needs, and questions.
The other night, I knelt on the floor with my fists on the concrete, repeatedly shouting out, "I know that I can trust You! Even in my sickness! Even when I don't understand! I choose to believe You are good! I lean not on my own understanding!"
Over and over I sing to Him, "I know that I can trust You," and He gives me new strength for the day.
Something is shifting inside every time I close my eyes and thank God for His unending goodness. It does not matter whether my rent money is in sight or the doctor I need exists in the state. I said yes to a good God, not to a situation.
I was not provoked to give Him my yes because it meant a life of riches, perfected health, or a blossoming ministry carved out for me. I simply said yes to trusting and following Him because this life is about obedience and a love response to the One who has given me everything.
I know that I can trust Him.
O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.