Thursday, August 18, 2011

Total Abandonment

London Eye & Big Ben at sunset by Harshil.ShahPink Patang by Meanest Indian

Poverty. Persecution. Suffering. Lostness. Addiction. Darkness. These are things that consume our world, hold happiness in a stranglehold, and suck the life out of billions of people. This planet we call home is riddled with pain, and those of us who are blessed enough to be removed from such horrors as starvation, disease, and filth so easily ignore it all. It’s so easy to sit inside our air conditioned houses on cushy couches and make grandiose plans about our futures.

But don’t we have a responsibility to the lost and suffering? As a Christian I believe that Jesus has called me to follow Him in making disciples, bringing the gospel to all nations, and helping the suffering. It is my purpose in life to know, love, and serve Him. Where does a trip to Britain fit into all that?

For a long time I’ve struggled with the difficult question, “Is this really how God wants me to spend my time and money?” Couldn’t my Britain fund be put to a better use in saving someone’s life in Sudan or feeding a hungry child in Guatemala? Should I be flying to Tanzania instead of England? Should I work with the unreached masses in India rather than attend a Bible school in Lancashire?

The answer seems obvious—of course bringing the gospel to the world is more important than a pleasure-trip for me. But then how do I go about it? Do I relinquish all my dreams of European travel and immediately dedicate myself to the lost and starving?  Which lost and which starving? African, Asian, American?

Is it going overboard to give up my lifelong dream for Christian service, or is it exactly the kind of radical devotion and total abandonment that Jesus requires?

Have you ever been faced with this dilemma—to pursue something for yourself or to give it up for others, or if you’re a Christian, for Christ? I don’t want to live a self-consumed life where I am the end and the means and Jesus is just a friendly spectator. I don’t want to go to Britain if it isn’t His will.

And so I’m back to square one. Confused, worried, depressed, unsure. Is this what following Christ is like, or is this what fighting against Him is like? 

Pink Patang, a photo by Meanest Indian on Flickr.


  1. Dear Abby,
    Great questions to pounder over prayer and seeking God's will. I wish I could have the answer for you but only God does.
    I became a missionary a year and some months ago and I have been working in Costa Rica since then and I gave up a lot to be here. I do not regret it at all!
    I could have a life of leisure and contentment. I life were I could travel, work, have a family, go to church, teach Sunday school and do a few good things here and there.
    I decided that is not the life that I wanted and I prayed and God answer and told me that He will give me the desires of my heart.
    So I wonder, if you desire so much to go to Britain and study so that later you can serve Him the same as if you give it up and go to serve right now to the unreached, wouldn't that be honoring your heart's desires?
    I will be praying for you! And I pray right now His blessings over you today.


  2. "Is this what following Christ is like, or is this what fighting against Him is like?"

    Abby, sometimes I believe it's a little of both. Sometimes we try do hard to follow the will of the Lord that we can miss it entirely. You just keep praying to seek what He wants you to do. For all we know, maybe Noah wanted to originally build a monument to God that would testify to many, many people... but God said, "No, I'd rather you build a boat." We're all put here with a plan already in God's mind. While one choice may sound more noble in our mind, it may not be in the plan. By that I mean that it is POSSIBLE that while donating that money toward a cause may be a good thing, following His plan to share the gospel with a particular Brit may be a great thing! Abby, please don't feel that I'm trying to heap more confusion on you. This matter is strictly between you and God and He WILL let you know what to do. I just don't want you to miss that because you're "guilted" into or out of something. It's possible that the answer is to simply wait on Him for now. Perhaps the test for you here is not as much about making the ultimate "correct" choice, but being able to wait upon Him to give you direction? Patience, young one. He will speak... you already know His voice... just sit at His feet and listen...


  3. Hey Abby!! We think that the homeschooled group sounds like a great idea but before anything is set in stone we feel that we need to pray about it first.As we like to give 110% in everything we do. :) we feel so honored that you would think of us to help with the group. We will be praying and seeking the Lord about this.

    May the Lord Bless you.

    ~In His grace~
    The Jordan Sisters

  4. Hey Abby! In response to your comment on my blog- that sounds like an absolutely wonderful idea! I would totally be interested. :)

    Now in answer to your post - always remember, the third world is not the only place that needs missionaries. It could be that God has brought you to this point in your life, where you're going to a prosperous country that thinks it doesn't need God, so you can be a light. There are times where we are sent places that don't necessarily make sense in the overall scheme of poverty-ridden places that need physical aid...but God always has a plan, and that plan often includes the unlikeliest of places.

    Wait on him. Pray. And then leap into the adventure of England. Because you'll find something there that God has for you.

  5. I struggled with something similar for a time as well. Ever since I was young I wanted to become a veterinarian. But as I grew older and more aware of the condition of the world, I began to wonder, "Should I really devote my life to healing animals when so many people need to be reached?" But then it was revealed to me that I could use a veterinary degree to serve Him in less fortunate regions of the world where people rely on animals for income and transportation.

    I don't know God's plan for you, of course, but it's possible He kindled this love of Britain within you for a reason. We often look with pity on the obviously poor, afflicted people who toil in Africa and the Caribbean, and forget those who, while living in luxurious homes and surrounded by worldly goods, are empty on the inside. These people need Christ as much as anyone, even if they are well supplied with food and water and clothing.

    As a Christian, the Light within you shines brightly wherever you go. Whether you're in a village in Tanzania or going to school in Lancashire, you will be given opportunities to serve Him.

  6. Thank you, everyone, for your amazing advice and supportive comments! Everyone I ask seems to be saying the same things, and my goal is clarifying :)

    For all those girls I've contacted about starting a group: you can contact me at picturingbritain [at] gmail [dot] com and we can continue the conversation!


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