Last August, I had the privilege to be part of the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta. One of my highlights was meeting up with a brother from Pakistan that I had met for the first time at the previous Younger Leaders Gathering 10 years earlier. Then, he was starting out in campus ministry. In the 10 years since, the Lord has used him to start a ministry that does holistic ministry in rural and urban slums in Pakistan. I believe he oversees a staff team of 70, with many more volunteers. I was very inspired by his report and told him so.
I then asked him about the security situation in Pakistan. He said that as a Christian in a somewhat high-profile ministry, he and his family were harassed regularly and that there was always the possibility that he would be killed. He said that many of his friends had encouraged him to move to the West. There were needs there too, they told him, and he and his family could live in safety. But, he said, “I have felt no calling to leave Pakistan”. I hugged him and thanked him for strengthening my own faith.
Living in a global world where travel is so easy, we can now live in any part of the world we want. But where should we live and work? My friend illustrated a principle that Bernice and I subscribe to. Or at least we try to. We should be where God wants us to be. This is not an ethic of heroism. We are not to prove our loyalty to God by always choosing the most difficult path. It is the principle of obedience. We try our best to discern God’s will and by His strength try to carry out that will whether it leads us to more difficult territory or not. Indeed, there are spiritual dangers in both comfort and struggle.
Then, there is the question of safety. I guess there are those of us who believe that the safest place is in the centre of God’s will. You could be killed in America or Pakistan. Where does God want you to be?
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (Genesis 12:1 NIV)
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. (Genesis 12:4 NIV)