Facing My Insuffiency

 
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I won’t sugarcoat this for you: Working in the Middle East is hard. I mean it, it’s hard. There is a minefield of challenges, including language barriers, cultural expectations, underlying suspicion of motives, oppression of women, war, and centuries-old conflicts between people groups—to name a few. Making an error in any one of these areas could send me home, at best, and at worst, cost my life. So how do I do it? And why? I mean, who chooses this life? 

I didn’t come because I didn’t like my life back home. I am not here because I think I’m the answer to the problems. I came because the Man from Galilee became precious to me. I came because I know Him to be our only cure. I serve “because Jesus.”

Yet the Middle East has its own beauty, hidden until you come see it for yourself. When I walk into the homes of people in Syria or Iraq, my team and I are greeted with open arms and generosity that cannot be matched in the West. The families embrace us as one of their own. They tend to us and are willing to serve every single need we may have, day and night. I am certain, if need be, they would defend us with their lives. Some of the most selfless people I have ever met live here in the Middle East. This is what you don’t see in the media. The people here are beautiful and I love them. Jesus loves them.

And they are dying daily, not knowing the forgiveness and love of Christ. This is why I do what I do. Jesus revealed His heart to me for the people here, and it is impossible for me to not respond to this call. Sometimes the challenges feel overwhelming and oppressive. There is so much need. Too much for me to handle. And the reality is that I cannot do it. I am not enough. But God is. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”[1]

Recently, I was having a meal with one of our contacts. Let’s call him Muhammed. He told me a story. For two years, Muhammed has worked with Frontier Alliance International (FAI). During an important meeting a few weeks ago, he was asked by a government official why he loves working with FAI. He said a couple years ago during Ramadan, while working at a Yazidi camp with FAI, he was offered lunch by a Yazidi man. Muhammed declined because he was fasting for Ramadan. Later, the Yazidi man came back and asked our friend what he wanted for his evening meal, to break his daily Ramadan fast, which Muhammed declined. The man was very insistent about cooking this meal, and he eventually agreed. This became a daily ritual between them.

Muhammed then told me that Yazidi people are normally a very closed community, and will not associate with outsiders. The fact that they were working with Christians and Muslims was a huge deal, in and of itself. And then for this Yazidi man to go out of his way everyday to make a special meal for Muhammed during Ramadan, acknowledging and catering to another religion…this is simply unheard of. My friend said "Only God has the power to do this kind of work, to change these people, and this is why I like working with FAI. Because God is with you." I mean WOW! This Muslim man sees God at work through us. Truly, this is not about me or my team or FAI, but about God changing the hearts and minds of people as they experience His love and His presence as we seek Him in this place.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD

Romans 8:11 says “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Look at the first part of that sentence: “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from He dead dwells in you.” As believers, the resurrection power of Jesus dwells in us. In 2 Peter 1:3, the apostle wrote, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness.” Jesus said “Whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”[2] Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it. I am tired and weary. I am aware of my limitations. But the truth is that the power of Jesus Christ not only gives life to my body, but it also gives me everything that I need for living this life.

One time while working in Syria, I was absolutely fatigued, unable to face the day after days and weeks of a constant stream of patients needing our help. My eyes were heavy with sleep. My body was weary. My teammate prayed for me, and by the time she finished, all fatigue and tiredness were gone. I had a miraculous restoration of my body and soul. The Spirit of God dwells in us and gives life to our bodies—now in glimpses, and in fullness in the resurrection and age to come. And Jesus promised that we would do greater things that He did. It seems impossible that the people groups here (that historically hate each other) will not only work together, but serve each other. But it’s not. It seems impossible that I would move to the Syrian war zone to tell people about Jesus. But it’s not. It seems impossible that people get healed, are raised from the dead, and brought into eternal life with God. But it’s not.

You don’t have to be afraid of stepping into what God is asking of you. You have already been given everything you need—you just have to tap into it. And more importantly, it’s God that is doing the work. You are a vessel He uses to accomplish His work. It’s a beautiful way to live. I am no super hero, believe me. I have just learned the value of living a life surrendered to Him—because I am not enough, but He is. 

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know, ‘Thus saith the Lord’

 
 
 

Megan is a Physician Assistant serving with FAI Relief in the Middle East.


 

[1] Matthew 19:26
[2] John 14:12