“God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.” – David Livingstone
David Livingstone, an 1800s missionary to Africa, prayed these words and God answered with a lifetime adventure that forced Dr. Livingstone to rely on the Trinity. His life included a lion mauling, his cattle dying from infections forcing him to walk across inland Africa, encountering cannibalistic tribes, and countless diseases. However, he valued spreading the gospel through medical missions above any comfort.
The apostle Paul clearly suffered while writing letters to the churches of the New Testament. Acts 27:27-28:5 describes a shipwreck that Paul endures due to his imprisonment for sharing the news of Jesus Christ. In Philippians 1:12-18, Paul writes that again, Rome has jailed him for the gospel, however, he rejoices and does not lament his sufferings. While Paul’s trials increase, so does his joy. This unusual correlation points to a causation beyond a happy disposition and will power to look at the bright side of a situation.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Parakletos, will not come to you.” – John 16:7 (Jesus speaking)
Parakletos, a Greek word meaning: one called to the side of another. Various translations say, “helper,” “comforter,” “advocate,” or “counselor.” I can only surmise that both of these men knew this Helper, Comforter, Advocate, and Counselor so intimately that their trials produced an enduring joy propelling them forward into the mission field and into a deeper dependence on God. Do I know this triune God well enough that He helps break my heart for those who do not know Him, driving me to pray more, give more, and go? Do I depend on the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, for joy? Do I comprehend the intercession of Christ for myself well enough that it inspires me to intercede for others as well?
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2
Will I allow God to impress upon my heart the weight of His love for others? Will I allow this weight to intertwine my heart with His? Will I look to Jesus as an illustration and view the labor of prayer as joyful? Will I allow God to take my journey and twist, bend, and alter it, willingly giving myself to a situation where I must depend on Jesus to set His joy before me? Will I need the Comforter?
Bringing it back to David Livingstone,
“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” – David Livingstone