What is it like for me to live in another country and to learn their language? Well, imagine being presented with a situation that makes you uncomfortable. This situation hits you unexpected, and you don’t really know what to do or say. Truthfully, you aren’t really sure what is going on so you just stand there in a blank stare. After standing there in a dumbfounded awkward silence you finally blurt out some child-like gibberish knowing full well that talking might only serve one purpose: to expose you as different from everyone else around you. Now apply that situation to everything you do in your life. Going to the grocery store feels like that. Taking your kid to play at the park feels like that. Trying to order food at a restaurant feels like that. When a street vendor or homeless person tries to talk to you it feels like that.
That is what language learning and living in Romania has felt like for me. I never knew how uncomfortable I would feel living in a different culture. For the first few months it felt impossible to go anywhere without someone asking me a question that I wouldn’t understand. I never imagined it would be stressful to go to church or to the park.
Last week when I was praying, God looked into my stress and anxiety and said, “Why are you here? To fit in? To start a new life? Why are you here?”
It was a great reminder to me that I am here because I want to see the body of Christ multiply and communities transformed. I want to see God glorified. I didn’t come here to fit in or be comfortable. I didn’t come here to start a new life. I came here because I was sent.
Realizing how hard it is for me to be in a foreign place with the temptation to go home caused me to think about what it must have been like for Jesus on earth. I can’t imagine how much he longed to return to heaven and be by the Father’s side. Yet He endured. He loved. He stayed and completed His task. So my answer to “Why am I here?” is because of what Christ did. He endured so I could endure through His strength. He loved so I could love with His love. He patiently waited so I could learn from Him how to wait. He did because He knew I couldn’t.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up." (Hebrews 12:1-3)