It was a difficult decision, as authors to pick just one post that influenced us the most, but I think we did well in selecting one that really reached across all planes of ministry. Whether a missionary on deputation, the field or furlough, or a lay person in a local church, this post really hit home with all of us.
So here it is, without further adieu, the Women Behind the Scenes: Authors Choice is (drumroll please…….) “The Enemy of Plenty” written by one of our sweet missionary wives to China.’
THE ENEMY OF PLENTY–By Steph T.
We’ve been back in the states for almost a year now, just patiently waiting for the adoption papers to be processed. In all that time, being stuck in the states has turned out to be a pretty good deal. I mean, we could have been adopting from anywhere in the world and it happens to be in our home country near all our family and friends that we almost never get to see. We’ve had an amazing time being back and been spoiled with grandparents being around to help take care of Galilee.
With all the perks of living in the states though, I’ve honestly been suffering spiritually. I have everything I could ever want and yet I feel so far from God. What happened? You would think that God showering down His blessings on me would draw me closer, right? Well, that’s what I really think has been my greatest challenge since I’ve been here. America, with all it’s comforts and so able to meet my needs and my wants, has left me very much in a spiritual coma. Sort of like the feeling you get after eating a big meal. You’re satisfied and stuffed and don’t want anything else.
I remember thinking to myself as we drove down the street the other day, ‘I should read my Bible. Right now is a perfect time. There’s nothing else to do. You’ll be stuck in the car, so might as well read it!’ Then, as quickly as those thoughts had entered, I answered them, ‘But I don’t want to.’ I thought back to my life in China. Living in China felt like battling it out face-to-face with the devil. Everyday there seemed to be a huge challenge, something that made me so uncomfortable, something that hurt me or discouraged me or pushed me beyond my limits. Not surprisingly in conditions like that, I would turn to God for my strength and my hope and my joy. When I struggled the most, that’s when I relied on God the most. In those times of suffering, I realized that my faith was being proved and my relationship with God was being strengthened.
Right now, though, I am faced with a completely different battle. This isn’t the enemy of fear or being out of my comfort zone, but being back in America; it’s the enemy of plenty. In times of plenty, I have essentially forgotten God. The lesson I need to learn is how to love God and desire God above everything else, even when I don’t feel that I need anything from Him. Those times in China when my back hurt so much I couldn’t walk for a week, or when the police would come and search the churches and my home, or when I was told I was going to die lying in a Chinese hospital all by myself, it was easy to remember God and easy to pray to God and easy to read my Bible because I needed Him!
I am ashamed that my actions have essentially communicated ingratitude for what God has done for me. I thank God for allowing me to see that I have these false gods of food, entertainment and family, false gods that take my time and focus away from the One should really be worshipped. I pray that I do no substitute the comfort of family and friends for God or the happiness I get from watching a movie with the joy that only God can give. I pray that I stop ruining my appetite for the things of God and that I draw near to Him even when there is no storm.