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Long Story Short

Long Story Short

Last month, the Christar Creative Services team helped me fulfill a goal to see Oklahoma, the only state in the continental U.S. I’d yet to visit. We drove up from Texas, crossed the state line, bought a pickle and went back to Texas. Like I said, long story. We then went to a state park for a cookout of good steaks and a giant piece of salmon. This was going to be an epic meal. What we didn’t anticipate was the wind. As we started handing out responsibilities for preparing our dinner, the first was to start the fire. However, no matter what combustibles we added to the fire pit, hoping to coax a blaze into life, the fierce wind thwarted our progress. We were hungry and chilled. The sun was rapidly setting. The situation felt a little dismal.

It took a stranger with a blowtorch to finally get the fire going. The sun was nearly gone by the time we had sustainable flames. But we still had raw steaks and salmon. By this point, half of the team had retreated to the car for warmth. The rest of us were huddled in a blanket beside the fire in the dark. All of us felt like ridiculous city slickers in the wilderness. And we still had to wait for those thick steaks to cook.

The patience required for the long process of getting to your desired field might seem like cooking delicious steaks in the windy wilderness. It seems unnecessarily rough, maybe even unfair. At times, you may feel like it’s just not worth it.

But, as the myriad of missionary biographies out there can attest, the long story of living on mission (wherever you are) and seeing God work is what makes it memorable and powerful. It’s how you learn to watch and savor the glimpses of grace unfolding. Humans are better off for not getting everything we want at the first wave of desire. The need for patience helps us grow. I have a friend who likes to remind me, “It takes a lot longer to live a decade of perseverance than it does to read about it.” The investment of patience over time testifies to the unparalleled beauty and value of the gospel.

My heart goes out to those of you who desperately want to be on the field and feel stuck in the process of getting there. It’s hard to be content and patient when the end goal feels insurmountably far off. Whether you’re still working on school, trying to determine the best organizational fit, working furiously to learn a language or struggling to raise prayer and financial support, I can empathize with the desire to tell the long story short. Even when you know that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it,” it takes intentionality to be patient in the waiting.

God is working in your story to help you grow and learn and—sometimes I forget this part—God is telling His long story of how He works all things together for His glory. He is in your long story, and He’s training you to trust Him.

Laura lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she freelances in various capacities, leads worship at her church and hangs with her adorably photogenic dog named Kimchi. She’s well acquainted with the chaos of trying to determine what to do in life.

Laura went to Bible college, where she explored cross-cultural ministry through classes, conferences and lots of practical application. After college she went to grad school, taught, went to South Korea for a year, worked for Christar, then spent a good chunk of the last decade working with international students in high school and college in the U.S.

She would love to journey with you as you consider missions—because she’s been there. Because reaching the nations is going to look different than it did in centuries past. And she wants you to be a part of it.

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