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A Hero's Journey

by SHIRLEY RALSTON CONTENTMENT Hearing God & Understanding His Will
A Hero's Journey
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“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
James 1:5

She was 16 when we got the news of a possible move to the Middle East. It would mean forgoing her senior year of high school in the U.S. Her feelings about it weighed heavily on our decision to stay or go.  

‘Is it fair to put that much pressure on her?’, I thought, ‘Is it pure folly to move an upcoming high school senior to a foreign country?’  

Most teenagers would have considered the prospect a hands down, ‘no way!’ But to our surprise, and for many reasons, our youngest daughter saw the move as an answer to prayer and the right way forward for herself. Looking back on that time, she likens her situation to that of a character in a classic Hero’s Journey: 

“I left my ordinary life and answered a call to adventure. With God’s supernatural help, I returned home a transformed person.”  

Her statement rings true for my husband and me as well. 

God’s wisdom can go contrary to our nature, guiding us down a road less traveled. That road requires bold steps of faith and trust. I would be lying if I said my family never faced obstacles during our time in the Middle East. There were days when I questioned whether or not we had done the right thing or the reckless thing. We made a decision that on the surface may not have seemed wise, but the test of time proved otherwise. We all grew in our faith in ways we couldn’t have imagined. 

“…we need wisdom so we will not waste the opportunities God is giving us to mature. Wisdom helps us understand how to use these circumstances for our good and God’s glory.”[1] 

The decision to uproot your family and move to a foreign country is a tough one. The times of doubt will come. When they do, ask God for confirmation and be assured of His faithfulness to you in the here and now. “He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19  

And remember, wherever He leads you, you are on the ultimate Hero’s Journey. 

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 340). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Closing Prayer
Lord, I praise you for granting me the privilege to be part of your kingdom work on this earth. I pray for your wisdom to properly discern your will for my journey. Help me to see where my desires conflict with your plans, and where they run parallel. Thank you for your faithfulness in all I will encounter along the way. Amen.
Book: Finding God’s Will by Gregg Matte Both of these books have been instrumental in helping me be at peace with decision making and discerning God’s will. They focus on prayer, but also on the practical and how the two often come together to guide and direct.
Question for Reflection

What is one of the hardest decisions you’ve made regarding your life overseas? How did you experience the Lord’s help as you wrestled with that decision?

Shirley Ralston
February 12, 2021

Our decision to move to the Middle East was confirmed in many different ways. The confirmation was so clear that it would have been impossible to ignore the Lord’s leading in that direction. In addition to confirming circumstances, we received honest, godly counsel, lots of prayer, and the support from our immediate and extended family. Our time overseas brought us into fellowship with the global community and initiated us into the ministry of member care – our primary place of service today. We are thankful we did not “waste God’s opportunity to mature.”

“The beautiful thing about this adventure called faith is that we can count on Him never to lead us astray.” -Chuck Swindoll