21 Jun “Check Me, Jesus”: A Second City Story
The following is a guest post from Viana Sagero, a rising junior at Meredith College in Raleigh who is serving on one of our Second City teams in South Asia.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I love writing, but it does not come natural to me. Throughout my day I am constantly distracted on the next big thing. When I finally do sit down to write, I am always focused on what I want to do afterwards. In many ways, that is how my relationship with God is. I am sinful by nature, so imitating a Holy Father is a constant battle. My mind is wicked and desires to focus on anything but what He has set before me. Right now the Lord has set South Asia before me and its need for the good news. My mind has continued to battle with Christ who is in me, and through this battle he has had to “check me” and put me in my proper place daily.
The Father has checked my expectations for spiritual growth. I found myself gearing up for South Asia foolishly trying to tell the Father how it was going to go down. I told him, my heavenly Father, like my mom used to before we would head into the grocery store. “Ok now Baba when we get there I don’t want to hear anything about “I want this” or “I need this”, I wrote a list and we are sticking to it”. I know, pretty reckless right? Who was I to tell Him yes or no? I felt that I had been stretched enough. Being made holy is painful. In my wicked mind I convinced myself that I could lessen the ache, by forcing God to do it on my terms. In my head I had manipulated my role in the good news going forth in this city. I do not have the right to tell Him what he can and cannot strip me from, and my refusal to die to self was quickly called out. See, the good news of the gospel that I am proclaiming tells me that I was separated from the holiness of the Father because of my sin, and the price to pay was death. I was undeserving of salvation, but because of the Father’s goodness he sent His son. It was this son that was able to live the life that I could not and pay the price that I deserved. I have received mercy (1 Tim 1:12-16). Now all he asks is that I give him everything and to trust that he will provide for me.
The Father has checked the way I viewed sharing the good news. My first few days in South Asia were hard. When we arrived to the main airport of our area, the city was so full of life and heat that I choked a little bit. My team and I eagerly explored our location. We went to major monuments, saw beautifully constructed temples, and asked Father to prepare the way. The people were different and intimidating. Seeing millions of people come to hopelessly worship gods made by human hands left me with a heavy heart. I was overwhelmed with an unnatural fear to share the good news, and my thoughts began to make me doubt my purpose here. I found myself crying out to Him saying, ” how can I do this Father? What if people do not want to hear what I have to say? What if I’m to broken or unequipped to share the good news?” I was focused on my inability instead of what the father had laid before me. The father was so sweet and firm in His response as he provided truth. If I serve the one whose authority is over the entire universe, why should I fear man? (Psalm 119: 46). My fear of the opinions of others was shifted to focus on His desire for the people’s freedom from sin. That can only come from believing in Him. When I was obedient to share he was faithful even when people did not want to hear what I had to say. Sharing was hard, but it was sweet to see His swiftness to respond.
The Father has checked my faith in His power. One night as we were out in the city, my leader and I began to pray for my teammate Marsela. We asked the Father to allow her to be able to share the good news and that they would want to follow up as she talked with a group of girls. When she was finished she walked over to us and just as she began to tell of her the uncertainty of the direction of the conversation, the girls walked right up to her and asked for her number so they could talk again. In this one instance of provision, I was quickly overwhelmed by how much he had provided for me. When I tried to construe the gospel to fit my plan, he provided truth. When I was overwhelmed with fear, he provided boldness. When we called to him in prayer, he was swift to provide a response (Matthew 7:7-8).
I’m learning to love and rejoice in these checks, because if the Father was not continually checking me, I would be too focused on all the wrong things. When I was preparing for a summer in South Asia, I thought I could prepare my own way. I tried to control how the Lord was going to use me, but I could not even control my thoughts, my fear, or how others responded. If the good news had been up to me I would have been too scared to pay the price, and the world would be lost. The great news is he sent a better person to pay the price; His son. Now when we get distracted by whatever may be, we can focus on the King of Kings. Praise Him that he “checks us” daily, that he puts us in our place and he sits rightfully on His throne!
Will you pray with me, and with my team, that we would continue to fight to focus on Christ the King and that he would be honored and acclaimed in us and in our city?