This blog was written by one of our 127 alumni, Kelly Probus, who served with our partners in Nairobi in 2015.
The engines roared, the plane sped up and suddenly we were in the air! For a moment, I panicked. This was it. There was no turning back. I wanted to go. I had been planning and dreaming about this moment for months, but as I watched the buildings get smaller and smaller and the land turn to water, I realized that everything was completely out of my control.
I have been chasing it my whole life; an uninhibited response to God’s calling. Most of the time I envisioned it looking like this: I’d spontaneously drop everything, jump in a convertible with a scarf wrapped around my head, sunglasses on my face and drive with my knees as my hands were outstretched to catch the wind. There would be music, of course, and glorious sunshine against my face. I imagined that the spontaneity would lead to feelings of absolute freedom. The only thing standing between complete, wild abandon and reality would be my own personality.
I am a researcher. Before I can jump all in, I have to consider every angle, every possibility, and every potential pitfall. The more I research, the more I allow fear to build, and the easier it becomes for me to find legitimate reasons why I should abandon the adventure before me. Inaction becomes the result.
In the spring of 2014, an epic battle began between my personality and God’s calling. It was also the first time that I heard the song, Oceans by Hillsong. When I heard the line, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders,” I knew it described the wild abandon I had longed for. I also realized my research, fear and rationalizations had created borders around God’s calling. Little did I know as I stood on the beach in Florida listening to Oceans while I stared at the ocean itself, that God would use the next year to teach me about having a faith that was without borders and ready for adventure.
I tried my best to convince God that He didn’t really mean for me to go. With every life circumstance that came into my path, I convinced myself that God was giving me a way out. My conversations with Him would go like this….
ME: “I’m not sure that there is enough money to go. I’m sure that you wouldn’t want me to take away from my family. So I will consider this roadblock evidence you are saying not to go now.”
ME: “All of the people who I knew that were going are no longer going. I will consider this to be you telling me to wait.”
ME: “Did you see what just happened in Kenya? I mean, it was half a country away from where I will be, but I will consider this to be your way of telling me not to go.”
ME: “My husband just had a life-threatening medical emergency. I can’t go now. The bills are going to be crazy and I can’t leave him. What if something happens while I am halfway around the world?”
G-O. Two small letters that required one large step of obedience. In each of the circumstances described above, God provided and made himself evident. My calling was to “GO” and I had to decide if I was going to be obedient.
I have thought a lot about why God commands us to go. Obviously, God calls us to take His name everywhere and share the gospel with all people. That is the result of getting there. To me, the going represents complete surrender. I was completely exposed before God. The act of going involved leaving everything that I loved behind. I had to step out in faith. As the song Oceans says, God was calling me out on the waters where my feet could have failed. I had to hold onto God and trust in Him. He took me deeper than I could have ever wandered on my own. The going was about the work that God did inside of my heart. He grew my dependence on Him and strengthened my faith.
While I stared out of my airplane window, watching the land fade from view, the sun was setting behind us. I was forging ahead into the darkness, into the deep of the unknown, out above the ocean. I was amazed at how quickly the darkness turned to light again. I had just witnessed the sun setting, and was calculating how long it would take the sunset to make its way across the United States. Yet, I was already in the light again. Immediately I thought of Psalm 113:3… “From the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, may Your name be praised.” I realized that the sun never rises and never sets, just like the praise of God never ends. I looked out my window and realized that the sun was hitting my face. I didn’t have my scarf or my sunglasses but the glorious sunshine hit my face. My fear faded and I embraced the adventure that awaited. I basked in the absolute freedom given to me through Jesus. I closed my eyes and imagined my hands held high, catching the wind. I was following God’s call with wild abandon. I was going.
I can’t wait to do it again.