In less than 24 hours, I will be leaving for Indonesia. I will only be there for a little over two weeks but I find myself with a tangle of mixed emotions this evening.
I am worried about the trip itself. What if something goes wrong and I get stuck in Hong Kong? What if I don’t find my friend once I get to Jakarta and am sitting at an airport in a city of 10+ million people? What if I took the wrong things along and now I am half a world from home and have no way to get what I think I need?
And then there is the teaching. What if my lectures fall flat? What if there is no relevance to what I have to say to a culture quite different than my own? What if these people paid all this money to bring me to their school and I disappoint them?
And of course there are the worries about living in Indonesia for 2+ weeks. What if I get sick? What if me and the spicy food don’t get along? What if, given I am in the tropics, I see a bug the size of a small rodent in my room and there is no one there to kill it for me? (I am not all that keen on even smallish bugs.)
I have always loved to read the stories of great Christian missionaries. I love to hear missionaries speak when they come home. Their work sounds so exciting. And while I am not a missionary and my trip does not begin to compare to their commitment, I do wonder if they ever have similar emotions.
This past Sunday our pastor preached on fear. If I truly believe that God is the one behind this opportunity to teach and interact with Christians in a very different part of the world, my fears, though real, should shrink into insignificance.
When I remember that all of this teaching, meeting, learning – whether here in the U.S. or in Indonesia – is God’s work, not mine, what is there to fear? That was at least part of the pastor’s point. Remembering Who is at the helm helps me move from fear to excitement.