I wanted to post my responses to two questions that I have been thinking about recently. If you wondered what I was hinting at in my last post, you will find your answers below:
1. Please explain why you wish to serve with Mercy Ships:
The short answer to this question is summed up in a quote from The Glorious Pursuit by Gary L. Thomas: “It’s not that I want more tally marks of service; I want to know more of Christ, not in head knowledge but in heart knowledge.” This book has been transformative in my life recently, shaping my thoughts about what it means to know and have a relationship with Christ. I want to truly know Christ more, and I believe that kind of heart knowledge comes through seeking to follow His example by loving people, healing the sick, and reaching out to those in poverty.
To give more depth to my answer, I will say that many things in my life have been nudging me toward applying to work with Mercy Ships. Over about the past six to eight months, a variety of books, sermons, conversations with friends, and conversations with God have prompted me to do a lot of thinking regarding what it means to know God and follow Him.
One result of that thought process is that I’ve developed an increasing awareness that the particular skills, gifts, and education God has given me—including my skills as a nurse—are meant to be used to bless others. I want to use my nursing education and skills for God’s work; I want to labor for what satisfies (“Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” Isaiah 55:2). Although I have been working at Mayo Clinic as a nurse for the last two years I feel that my life and work are largely self-focused, and thus have not been a source of great satisfaction to me. I have become insulated from poverty and need, but I want to purposefully move towards a life in which my focus and passion is intimacy with God and being a part of His work.
Similarly, I have also been thinking about service as an act of obedience to God, and as a way of seeking to know Christ. In the Bible, James states that faith unaccompanied by action is dead. I want to “love not with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18); not in order to “win” God’s affection but in order to worship Him and seek to be more like Him. God Himself commands us to love others in practical ways. Isaiah 58 lists some of the things that God considers pleasing acts of worship: loosing chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free, feeding the hungry, and in general meeting the needs of those around us. Mercy Ships is involved in just that kind of work and worship and I want very much to be involved in that.
2. In Mercy Ships, we seek to follow the example of Jesus. Please explain what Jesus means to you:
• Creator: formed me and knows me intimately; continues to work in my life. I am made in His image, as are all people.
• Lover: desires relationship with me; despite my failings and sins, looks on me with love and desires me to become more like him. His love is transformative and is making me into a new creation.
• Lord: Jesus is ultimately in charge, not me (although this is hard for me to live out). He has plans for good in my life, and wants me to obediently follow where He leads.
• Light: I have walked in darkness, but I have seen a great light and I will never be the same.
• Redeemer: of my broken life, but also of broken relationships and this broken world. He will make all things new and all things right.
• Savior: I am no longer condemned by my sin to spend eternity apart from God; Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection have given me eternal life!