“Take me with you. Put me on your path. And I will follow you. I will suffer with you.”
This is a short prayer that I wrote, perhaps, about the time I was embarking on my journey to Hawaii. I think I was preparing my move to Hawaii and this prayer desperately captured my deep desire to follow Jesus to accompany on His mission. Without even knowing anything about a true discipleship – after all, I was only a fresh, newly born Christian -, I uttered those words in tears and I meant every single word.
It was this old prayer, almost a decade old, that quietly hummed in my heart. My heart was emptied out of all thoughts and only one word -“God”- repeatedly appeared in my vacant mind. I tried to summon some prayers or anything worth venting out to relieve my stress but nothing appeared. My effort to make “something” happen almost bored me.
So I silenced my mind and focused my gaze on my Crucified Jesus. That’s when this old prayer of mine popped in my head.
It was as if God was reminding me of my decade old request to Him. In that quiet chapel during Adoration, I reflected on my last decade since I so boldly proclaimed to God such brazen words. Did I really lay down myself before God and joined in His suffering? I felt my cheeks turning red, because I haven’t. My strong ego still got in the way even after I became His follower. I kept God busy to mold me and discipline me. I truly fell short for the missions that He had to complete before His second coming. And I found myself still disqualified after all these years.
Two days later on Sunday, I visited my parents’ Korean church. I go there sometimes when I miss my Korean roots. They had a special service on this particular Sunday. They were sending out their missionary and his young family- He was a father of two small toddlers- and the pastor asked the entire congregation to stand and hold out their hands to bless this family. They were embarking on a new journey after finishing their first mission in Kazakhstan. “Kyrgyzstan”, a neighboring country adjacent to Kazakhstan was their new destination. To be honest, I’ve never even heard of this country before. The wife of the missionary appeared at least a decade younger than me. At her age, I was a newly born Christian, just starting my relationship with Jesus. Without even knowing anything about being His follower, I, in tears, asked the Lord to put me on His path. And here she was, a young wife of a missionary, so obviously letting go of her own agendas, ambitions and securities of the world, to follow her husband who courageously risked everything for God. I don’t know how to explain the emotions I felt while I was praying for them and contemplating about the young missionary family’s journey.
It was a mix of awe and envy, a mix of yearning and fear. If that is the picture of following Jesus on His path and suffering with Him is, could I really do it? If God calls me to, say, Motuo, one of the most remote places to be, could I happily and fearlessly embark on that journey? It was easy for me to say “Put me on your path and I will follow you” when I was feeling like moving to Hawaii.
The missionary family must be leaving either today or tomorrow, getting on the plane to take them to the unknown land called “Kyrgyzstan”. For unknown reasons, this family has touched some deep center of my heart. I don’t even know them. I’ve never seen them before in my previous visits to this Korean church. I guess that’s because, until recently, they were serving in their previous mission field, Kazakhstan. Nonetheless, they have impacted me on a deeper level than anyone around me has. They have set a new standard for me about just what it mean to truly follow Christ on His path.
This morning, I sat with my Bible in the silence of the wee hours alone. Still, there it was in my heart, the tiny whispers saying “Take me with you. Put me on your path. And I will follow you. I will suffer with you”. No tears were shed as I uttered these words, but my heart meant every single word and I was not afraid.