A Note from the FM South Asia Leader’s Desk:
Today as I write this note to you, I find myself with a curious question. Where do you receive affirmation and encouragement? Where do our FM leaders, staff, and church planters in the field get the affirmation and encouragement to keep going? Church planting among unreached peoples is not easy work to do. Sometimes we face great challenges, setbacks, and spiritual warfare. Sometimes, even in times of victory, we can feel we have few people to even rejoice with us in or understand how significant the breakthrough we experienced was for us. God designed us as human beings to need encouragement and affirmation. Without it, there is a gap or a hole inside of us that longs to be filled.
Often, when feeling the lack of affirmation, we can start to blame others. It’s easy to say, “My leader doesn’t visit or call me enough.” Or we can wonder why YWAM doesn’t have better member care. Or why our parents and friends forget to write to us, or don’t understand our work and calling. Sometimes we want more affirmation from our team members, closest friends or spouse. This need in our life can cause loneliness and make us handicapped or crippled from effective, fruitful ministry in the harvest field. This is not God’s plan or desire! He wants us to have full access 24 hours a day, to abundant affirmation, love, acceptance and encouragement! He wants us to be full and overflowing with this, so we can give it away to others.
So, let me come back to the question again: where do you receive affirmation and encouragement? Pause a moment and answer this for yourself. Then, ask yourself, where do you wish you received it but don’t? Acknowledging our need before the Lord is the right place to start. We don’t have to pretend we are strong and don’t need this. We can admit that we really long for someone to notice how much we have worked or suffered or to tell us “Good job! Keep going. You’re doing well.” But we can’t stop there. Father God, our Papa, is longing to speak those words to us if we will slow down, quiet our hearts and listen. He designed us with that gap, so we would turn to Him (not others, leaders, team members or those who never can truly fill this hole in us!) He is an abundant source of encouragement and longs to speak to you, even now, “Well done, my faithful son or daughter. I am well pleased with you.” Romans 8:31-37 tells us that if Papa God is for us, who can ever be against us? Nothing can separate us from his love. Except maybe our own inability to listen or receive from Him. When we close our ears and are too busy to listen to the love, affirmation and encouragement He is waiting to give us.
My prayer for you today (and for myself too) is this: May your heart be quiet enough to hear His still small voice whisper-“ I love you. You are mine. I am proud of you.” May the voices of shame, loneliness, failure, or rejection be silenced enough that your Papa God’s voice can be heard. “You did well my child. I love you unconditionally. Keep going. I am with you. I am using you and doing more through you then you can see.” Let’s pray this for one another this month. As He brings greater revelation to us, we will be strengthened in Him and have an abundant supply of love to give away to the unreached and lost around us.