Over two years ago, I told God that I would NEVER raise support to be a missionary and that I would NEVER visit NYC. However, God had different plans. For starters, He gave me a great opportunity to take students to Brooklyn for a mission trip. We arrived in Brooklyn on St. Patrick's Day 2012. Almost immediately, I began to realize that I was falling in love with NYC, even though I didn't want to. During that week, my friend, Jessica Minhas, who works as an actress and abolitionist in the city, looked at me and said bluntly, "you are great with your students. They love you. But here's the problem, you don't need to be in WV, you need to be in NYC." I promptly blew her off.
Months passed and I found myself actually considering moving to Manhattan. In July 2012, I met with pastors and students all over NYC to see what options there were for me. But now, I was overwhelmed. The city was too much to handle. The more needs that I saw in the city, the more weak I felt. The more languages I heard, the smaller I became. There was no way that I could ever move here. With only a handful of college ministers to shepherd the 594,000 college students on over 110 colleges and universities, this task was bigger than I could ever imagine. I was humbled by what was before me. If God was going to use me in a city of 8.2 million people, He was going to have to do all the work, because the task was simply too big.
Fast forward to my "city-versary" on Saturday March 17th 2013. A year from the first day that I set foot here, I coughed. The next day, I began to feel weak and started having the chills. By monday morning, I could do nothing but sleep. My health had deteriorated to the point where I was physically unable to do anything. For a solid week, I wasn't able to eat anything. All I could do was to lay down. Again, I was reminded of my own dependance. I was reminded of my own limitations. After being told by several people to seek medical attention, I went to the emergency room. As I was walked to the hospital with a co-worker, I felt so weak that I thought that I would pass out at any moment. What caused my sickness? Something Bubonic? Something that the CDC warns us about? Nope. I had a "cold."
This "cold" leveled me. I have never been more tired in my life. The more that I pondered my situation, the more that I began to wrestle with the reality of spiritual warfare. Again, I was reminded of my dependance on God. The Apostle Paul wrote of a time of weakness, when he was attacked by a "messenger of Satan." But he came to the realization that his problem ultimately worked for his benefit because it forced him to depend on God. In chapter 12 of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
A year prior, I was humbled by the task to do ministry in the city. A year later, I was humbled by sickness. But with both situations, I was reminded that the only way that I can do what I have been called to do is by depending on God's strength and not my own. God will supply my needs and yours as well. Are you depending on him? Will you acknowledge your weakness, so that you can cling to his strength?