“Let us hold fast to the confession of your hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near”
It is easier to obey the Lord when he asks you to do something you want to do. When I have felt God asking me to go overseas for short-term and mid-term, I really wanted to go and therefore said yes with excitement and joy. Of course, there are moments of difficulty and fear in that process of saying yes to go, but generally, I do not find it as difficult to be faithful to go when I want to go, rather than being faithful in the daily grind. God calls us to go on short-term and mid-term trips to have an impact on those we interact with overseas, and to convict us to be more faithful in our daily lives when we get back.
My sophomore year, I distinctly remember starting nursing school and one of the first days sitting in class and thinking to myself, “I wonder how many people in this room are believers.” I had just gotten back from a January short-term trip to Kuala Lumpur, and I was on fire for the gospel. Let me rephrase that—I was on fire for the gospel for Muslims. When I saw a woman in a hijab at the grocery store, I would blaze a trail straight for her with a smile on my face and probably too much enthusiasm for her to be comfortable. Sitting in my classroom that day though, I did not feel that same joy. I actually felt a little nauseated as I listened to conversations going on around me and realized that what I was hearing did not sound like a room full of Christians.
Going to school in a culturally Christian environment, it is so easy to convince yourself that the people around you live very similar lives to yours. I thought I had a free pass to mind my own business at Samford and just keep a lookout for women in hijabs to share the gospel with. I think in that moment, sitting in my first nursing class, I was hit in the face with the fact that I spend every day with these people and have never considered their eternity. I thought I was being obedient to the gospel, and I was in a short-term context. However, my daily life here in Birmingham was not one of obedience to the gospel. I didn’t have a desire to share the gospel with them if that meant going outside of my comfort zone and facing the social consequences for what I said and did. I was convicted, but my heart was really hardened toward the people in my class. I can remember talking with Stephanie Fain and confessing that my heart was broken for Muslims, but at the same time feeling nothing for the people I spent the majority of my time with. She challenged me to start with just one person and pray for them. I started asking the Lord to give me a heart for Samford girls...girls who look perfect on the outside, but internally are wounded and far from the Lord. It took a while, but eventually I found myself seeking relationships with more and more people in my class that I had never spoken to before and thought I never would. It has been a process of the Lord humbling me and revealing my sin, but I can say now that I genuinely love the people in my class and have a desire for them to know the Lord.
There are many small ways you can choose to be obedient and glorify the Lord in your daily interactions. One of the biggest ways I’ve learned is just to be a voice of encouragement in the midst of anxiety and complaint (if you know a nursing major, you know we sure do know how to complain!). Even right now writing this, I am convicted about my lack of obedience and my complaining over the past few days. But praise the Lord, He is faithful despite our faithlessness! Our little, humble, daily obedience can bring God glory if we choose to follow. It’s almost always my desire to be in the middle of an adventure. The Father is showing me that yes, there are moments of that excitement, but ultimately, He just wants me to obey today in whatever He leads me to. Right now, that means going to class and to clinical with a desire for His glory. Someday, that might mean excitement and danger and far-away places without access to the gospel at all, but for now, it means being a gospel presence at Samford—where people are saturated with the gospel, but their hearts are not penetrated by the gospel.
Catie Bovey is a senior nursing student at Samford University, originally from Houston, TX. She is involved in the College Ministry and leads a small group of girls each week.