I recently sat across from an international friend I’ve known for a while. As we talked about the upcoming holiday season, she stopped me and said she wanted to talk about Thanksgiving. I told her about the history, when the holiday was declared, some modern traditions, and that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and generous. Then, I said that it was a season for recognizing there was once a group of people who wanted to worship God in openness and by choice. So, they risked it all to go to an unfamiliar land to find that kind of freedom. It takes courage and faith to fuel a desire to go. She made a fascinating statement after our conversation. She said, “It seems that your God must be a good God for people to leave a country because they want to worship Him.”
That resonated with me. She comes from a country of national pride and could not imagine not going back home. I gently said that she had some of that same courage to step out and come to a new land to study. She asked me if I thought that maybe my God gave that to her so that we could be friends and talk about Him. YES—now, she is not there yet, but she is so close! I’ve been thinking about this conversation for a couple weeks now.
The author of Hebrews states that “faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (11:1). Throughout Scripture, we see that faith is always coupled with movement—with going. Just read the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. Can you imagine the courage it took to have the faith to step into the unknown and trust that going and following God was better than staying in captivity, slavery, and being dictated about how to believe? I hope you can, because every day, we have men and women who grab ahold of their courage and step out in faith. They go to an unfamiliar land to share about worshiping God.
We have over 4,000 workers across the world who stepped out into the unfamiliar. They left their families, homes, and countries to show others how to have a relationship with the God who deserves to be worshipped. History is filled with stories of those who have risked it all to step out in faith to worship God and to live in a relationship with Him so that others might know! Through the centuries, their legacies demonstrate that it was worth losing all to follow God to the ends of the earth. God is about using His people to step out in faith and go, because He is a good God! He is worthy of us going, worshipping, and stepping out in faith.
Faith is not about just believing, but it’s also about courage, hope, trust, and action. This Thanksgiving, we should be thankful for those who are willing to step out in faith and pray for more to say yes to going. Here at the International Mission Board, we have opportunities to go for the short and long term—all needed. We need students to give two years to go and step out in faith so that others can worship God. I am thankful for the Church and her heart to go into the nations. I am thankful we have an organization that helps us go and desires to use students as part of the team to reach the nations. I am thankful for all who have said yes—those who are working through stepping out in faith, courage, hope, and trust to go to the ends of the earth. This Thanksgiving, please pray for our current workers around the globe and for the Lord of the harvest to raise up more to go in faith!
Sarah Farley is the Southeast Student Mobilizer Associate with the International Mission Board. She is an Enneagram 7 that loves students, coffee, burgers, SEC football and connecting with people.