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When the Goal Seems Impossible

by LAURIE M. FAITHFULNESS Contentment Obedience Language learning
When the Goal Seems Impossible
"Noah did everything just as God commanded him."
Genesis 6:22

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.

Closing Prayer
Lord, when we are in the trenches of obeying you but not able to see the goal or the progress, would you give us faithfulness? Even when we cannot see more than a few steps beyond where we are, help us to do all that you have called us to do with obedience and excellence. Encourage us to continue and give us intimacy with you in the process. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Book: Praying Hyde, Apostle of Prayer: The Life Story of John Hyde by E. G. Carre This is a book about John Hyde, an American global worker who served in the Punjab region of India. Despite his efforts, Hyde struggled to sufficiently learn the language. Rather than leave the field and give up, he gave himself to the study of the Word and to prayer. God used him to start a prayer movement in India. While I can’t say this book helped me out of the language pit, it did shine a light in it. I was able to see fruitfulness doesn’t come “once” we learn the language–after crossing the proverbial finish line–but in our day-to-day faithfulness to the Lord, in our love for the people around us, and in our faithfulness in being who God has called us to be.
Question for Reflection

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?

Laurie M.
September 01, 2021

I think sometimes God in his grace doesn’t reveal the big mountain coming our way. We don’t always know the why or the how we’ll get there. However, I am convinced the best preparation for the mountain-top experiences–or even the unexpected crises–are the day-by-day expressions of faithfulness: of seeking the Lord, of caring for our families, tending to our homes, of praying for the neighbors, building relationships with the people around us, and practicing daily and weekly spiritual disciplines. It could also be learning the next vocabulary list, translating the next paragraph, or treating the next patient. Is it possible that the things God puts right in front of us–albeit little and seemingly mundane–are his tools to develop faithfulness in us and to prepare us for what is to come?