I like receiving missionary prayer updates because it is very hard for me to pray generic prayers. A missionary our church supports has had serious VISA issues for some time, and I’m not talking about her credit card. The country, which shall remain nameless for her protection, is not helping matters out.
How hard would this be for a missionary? Put yourself in her shoes. You are compelled to be in a specific locale and work to translate the scriptures into the vernacular (language of the people), and yet things are becoming harder and harder to do just that. She’s not praying for a Porsche or riches; she’s praying for the Visa so she can translate scriptures.
This is a “What is the deal God” type moment for me, I can’t imagine what its like for her! It really comes to me at an appropriate time as I’ve been personally wrestling with this question of “differently answered” prayers while preaching through Habakkuk (here’s a sermon I preached on Habakkuk this past Sunday which some folks said they’ve found helpful). How it might feel like God is not on her side! But I also began to think of something like this happening to an old school missionary a long time ago: Paul. Instead of God letting him go to all the crazy places he had anticipated going, he gets locked up in a prison, spends time in house arrest, and then gets beheaded.
And yet the gospel went forth to the nations. Not my plan, but God sure did and does know what He’s doing, even when it seems he doesn’t.