Wherever he leads, I’ll go . . . will you? Wherever he leads, I’ll go . . . will you?
You can say, “No,” and you can say, “Lord.” But you cannot say, “No, Lord.” By David Sills
In my family church where I grew up, we often sang the hymn, Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go. In my mind, I think I actually meant the words when I sang them. I can clearly remember the mood of the congregation as we sang and the sound of the music from the organ as my mother played. Interestingly, I have no memory of ever thinking that He’d lead me anywhere other than where I was at the time. Although I had gone through the motions of walking the aisle and getting baptized, I was in my mid-twenties before the Lord drew me to Himself and saved me. My life changed completely—radically, 180 degrees, inside out, pick one and it fits. After coming to Christ and being born again, I began to sing that song and meant it with all my heart. It was only then that I realized I had never really meant it before. With the change that salvation brought, I remember my morning prayers being something like, “What is it that is not being done, that ought to be done, and if it were done, it would result in greater glory to God and extension of His kingdom?”
I began to think God was leading me to missions. With my life firmly established, making good money, and a young family to provide for, I still felt that God was calling us to leave it all and go. I just didn’t know where. Mary and I began to explore His call on our lives, first through reading missionary biographies, then going on short-term mission trips with our church. God began to make it plain that missions was his plan for our lives. On a mission trip to Ecuador, he confirmed the call and showed us the place.
Abandon it all
Like anyone making such a massive life change, we were nervous and continued seeking confirmation that we had heard him clearly about the when, where, and what he had for our lives. In our nightly family worship time, we prayed through a book that listed and described the work in all the countries where our denomination’s missionaries were serving. If God wanted to point us somewhere else, we wanted to know and not rush into a decision without Him. I even went on a vision mission trip to another country to discern whether we felt strongly about Ecuador just because we had been there before. It was disconcerting to sell our home and get rid of most of our belongings to go to seminary for preparation while still praying for confirmation of where we would go next. Yet downward mobility and walking by faith was a rich and faith-growing time of entrusting every moment to God.
We all have a role
“Ready to go, but willing to stay,” has been my heartbeat ever since the Lord led us back to the USA, but I confess that I do not always say that with a joyful heart. My prayer is that this is just a season of preparing and sending others, but that it will be followed by another season of being one of the sent ones. I cannot get my head and heart wrapped around the thinking of some who say, “No, not me. I would never go to the mission field.” God has called us all to go or give, to send or be spent, and He will have His way – ask Jonah when you get Home.