Andrew is a graduate of UCLA and was a part of the East Asia team.
This summer, I had the privilege of going to the country of East Asia to serve the Lord with 15 other people. This being my second STSM experience with KCM, I felt a certain sense of comfort in knowing how the trip would generally play out while also allowing God to fill in the details. My main goal was to be a faithful servant to the Lord and learn what it meant to die to myself. I wanted to give everything I had in faithful service to the Lord and have my personal desires die and allow His to shine through my life. Even our team verse was Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Naturally, I expected to become radically dependent on Him while I faced many trials and be radically blessed as He gave me the strength to obey His will.
However, to be very honest, I was disappointed. As I looked back on this past month, it was devoid of any radical or mindblowing experiences. Pertaining to the missions work we did, I did not face any emotional highs or spiritual lows. In fact, I felt as if it was just a normal month in a foreign country doing ministry work. I felt jibbed. I expected God to bless me as I served Him faithfully and to teach me what it meant to die to myself. Instead, I felt God was silent and did not respond to all that I did with what I thought was pure intentions to glorify Him. I was so wrong. It wasn’t until debriefing retreat that I was able to see just how foolish I was in my thinking. Luke 17:7 says
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
Throughout this month, I expected God to bless me for all the faithful service I did for Him. I expected Him to affirm me as I chose to live for Him daily despite my situation and circumstances. I expected Him to tell me to recline at His table and eat for all the hard work that I did for His kingdom. How foolish I was. For God did not owe me anything except the full punishment for my sins which lead to eternal separation from my creator. But out of His immeasurable compassion and love, He sent His only son in my stead, to bear the wrath reserved for me. I am but His humble servant, simply doing what was my duty and obligation to do.
Yet God is gracious still. For without His silence in this month, I would not have learned the true meaning of dying to myself. Although I did not feel blessed or affirmed in my service to Him, I was able to walk in faith and obedience. Even when I think God is not there, He has shown me once again that He is in control and that He is faithful to the end. Truly only God is able to bless even in the “absence of blessings”. God is good! Thanks for reading.