When my family first moved to Turkey, I labored through language study. I could not remember words even if my life depended on it. For a point of reference, it took me a month to remember how to count to ten! After years in the crucible of language learning, it was so easy to lose hope and give up: the countless corrections, the continued miscommunications, the limited relationships, and the perpetual humiliation took their toll. Frequently, I felt as if I had no measurable progress and no indicator that I was any farther up the mountain of language learning than I had been a year before.
It was the love for the people that kept me going–the joy set before me. I had a deep desire to see many more people hear the Good News that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them deeply. Believing that God had called me to this land to be a witness, I persevered in studying and practicing the language.
I often wonder what Noah had to struggle through in building the ark. He was a man told by God that there would be a flood to destroy all life on earth. What kept him going while he was preparing for something he could only imagine? It was a holy fear of God and a belief that what God said would come to pass that kept Noah building the ark.
It was only years later that I saw fruit of my long season of language study labor. During language study, I hadn’t imagined being able to weep or rejoice with Turkish speaking friends. I hadn’t dreamed that I would be able to share the Gospel with numerous neighbors who asked about Jesus and asked me to pray for them. I hadn’t expected my Turkish to become proficient enough to translate for Turkish pastors. I had no idea at the beginning what I was getting into, nor how God would use it. Yet, he gave me faithfulness to persevere in studying and faithfulness to continue using the gift.
We don’t always get encouragement along the way. We don’t always have measurable progress nor have any idea how we will achieve what God has called us to. But we can remember that God sees what we do in secret. God is honored by our faithfulness and obedience.
Sometimes we aren’t sure what the God-sized dream is. How might our faithfulness play a role when we’re not sure where we’re headed?