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‘Build your relationship with God based on faithfulness, not feelings’

Every Tribe, Every Tongue

‘Build your relationship with God based on faithfulness, not feelings’
Posted on August 14, 2019  - By Elizabeth Abraham

Abigail Brown tells of a time she was opposed to the idea of becoming a missionary. But as she grew in her walk with the Lord during her teens, she began seeing it as a way to “partner with [her] Saviour”. As she tells it, the Lord “nudged” her to consider Cambodia through a book on world missions. A training programme and a visit to the country later helped her make up her mind. Cambodia it would be! Today, Abigail works at a Christian school in the Southeast Asian nation, currently wrapping up an English course for teachers and preparing to take on Grade 10 English in the fall. Being part of a growing church there gives her many opportunities to serve. 

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a Christian. 

Growing up in a Christian home, I claimed to be saved early on, but it was not until the age of eight that I fully understood the plan of salvation and received the Lord. I was reading a children’s magazine one morning, and their outline of the Gospel made sense. That is when I knew I was saved. For several years after that, I struggled with not wanting to spend time with the Lord and kept one foot in the world. But at the age of 16, after a period of softening my heart, the Lord showed me clearly how empty my life was without including Him in it. With His help, I began a new and exciting adventure of walking in a close relationship with my Saviour.

Your experience of having one foot in the world is one that many of our readers will likely relate to. What advice can you offer readers who are also struggling to desire the things of the Lord?

Once I was conscious of my desperate need for the Lord to rule my life instead of my self, life was much more exciting. I chose Christian books over secular, and began finding joy in spending time with the Lord. Part of this wonderful change came from a deep conviction of sin and knowledge of the things I needed to turn from.

The path the Lord led me in included meditating on Scripture, gaining encouragement from Christian music, and reading books that encouraged me in the way of godliness. I realised I could develop my relationship with the Lord by talking and singing to Him, even while doing something as simple as cleaning! 

I realised it was important to keep reading His Word — even when I did not feel like it. This led to spiritual development. It’s something I continue to learn: that our relationship with the Lord is not based on feelings (feeling near Him, feeling like studying His Word) — but faithfulness. By that I mean His constant faithfulness to us, as well as our privilege to live in faithfulness to Him, by maintaining our relationship as we would any other human relationship — through fellowship and communication. The joy of such a friendship and love relationship with our Lord Jesus is the richest, deepest connection we will ever experience — and He never disappoints us!

I realised it was important to keep reading His Word — even when I did not feel like it. This led to spiritual development

Tell us about the people you minister to. 

The Khmer people are extremely kind, friendly and helpful. I have observed the “it takes a village to raise a child” concept at work here, and I admire how even the young people take a role in guiding the smaller ones. Cambodia has seen much war and hardship, and while that is still quite evident in the culture, it is encouraging to see the people moving forward.

What challenges are you facing in your mission field? 

One issue is the language barrier which limits how I am able to meet the needs of those around me. In addition, a month into my stay here, I was hit with several health issues for a time. Praise God for what I gained through those experiences and for how much my health has improved since then! 

What lessons did your health scares teach you?

Though my experiences with acute health problems were relatively short-lived, the Lord did use them mightily to teach me about Himself. First, my surprise at falling ill with several different issues took me by, well, surprise. This certainly did not make me feel like a strong missionary. Also, why was I dealing with these things? Here I was, on the mission field! 1 Peter 4:12 offered a dose of reality and encouraged me. Are we supposed to be surprised when trials come? When God tests us? When the enemy works against us? No! Instead of being surprised, what an opportunity to remember that God could use this for good, to make me more like Himself.

I was surprised. Why was I dealing with these health issues? Here I was, on the mission field!

Another important lesson I slowly picked up around this time was to not freak out over something that really might not end up being an issue. This can take many forms. Not dwelling on all the bad things the Internet declared I could have. Not living each day in worry until I received that biopsy result. Not reacting poorly to other issues in life until I knew the whole story. I’m grateful for the lessons this trial brought.

Finally, a huge encouragement during this time was a greater understanding of how much the Lord Jesus Himself suffered. He knows, He cares, and this trial is not the end of my story! What a great God we have — He understands our troubles and He uses hard times (in my case, sickness) to sanctify us. Be encouraged in the truth that God does not waste our trials. Ask Him for His perspective, to see what He wants you to learn.

That’s amazing. What are some practical ways believers, whether on the mission field or caught up in the mundane tasks of life, can look to the Lord daily to do His work?

Proverbs 3:6 offers practical encouragement to look to the Lord for daily guidance. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Whether you need wisdom for a major life decision or for how to go about your workday, the Lord is there to guide us in how to bring Him glory. I’m grateful for when He reminds me to acknowledge Him in my daily life and also for the reminders to ask for wisdom in how to do His work.

Here’s something to note: the Lord is gracious to open our eyes when we ask Him for wisdom. When I seek opportunities to do His work, He shows me how I can be of service. How I can meet a need I see in the church. How I can offer someone encouragement. When I seek to be in tune with His heart, He opens my heart and eyes to things He sees. And since He is the one guiding, the credit and glory goes to Him.

How can we pray for you?

I’d appreciate prayers for my language acquisition, the health and safety of our team, that I look to the Lord each day to do all the work He wants me to do — and that our students become softened to the Lord and not pulled away by what the world offers.

Elizabeth Abraham

About Elizabeth Abraham

Elizabeth Abraham — or Elsa, as she is usually known — has lived in the Lone Star State of Texas for most of her life, where she works as a physician assistant. From teaching preschoolers at Sunday school and mentoring younger sisters in Christ to conversing with co-workers and caring for elderly nursing home patients, her desire is to know the Lord and make Him known.



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