Lillian Trasher was a missionary to Egypt from 1911 to 1961. But becoming a missionary was not part of Lillian's original plan. No, she wanted to be an artist for the Georgian Newspaper. In fact, she had quite a talent and nearly had the job of her dreams. But, due to a miscommunication, the job was mistakenly given to someone else. From there, God lead Lillian to work in an orphanage in North Carolina (that's quite a neat story in itself).
Over the very hard years of her life, Lillian prayerfully and faithfully did the work called her to do. She opened the very first Egyptian orphanage and took in nearly 10,000 orphans plus thousands of widows in her lifetime. Many, many times she didn't even know where their next meal would come from, but she trusted God and He always came through for them.
Because of Lillian many children were saved both physically and spiritually. And the trickle effect was phenomenal. Many of her children went on to be successful people in the community, even opening churches and other orphanages throughout Egypt.
I'm sharing all of this with you, friends, because I have to tell you what God showed me as I read about Lillian Trasher. And ask you a question that I asked myself...
Did God Call Us to Be Comfortable?
You know, it would have been really easy for Lillian to ignore God's call. She could have stayed in America and married the young pastor. She could have served the church as a pastor's wife her whole life, in security and comfort. It sure would have saved her a lot of heartache. It would have looked really good to everyone, because she would have been doing "God's work". No one would have known the difference...except God, of course.
But Lillian didn't do that. She didn't ask God to follow and bless her plans. No, she trusted God and followed His lead even when it was very uncomfortable and certainly inconvenient. She prayed continually asking for strength and sacrificed it all for God and others, an example of the love of Christ. She recognized her humble dependence on God day after day after years of days. And she impacted THOUSANDS of lives! That is why she is a true Christian hero.
So, let me ask you again...
Did God Call US to Be Comfortable?
I asked myself many questions as I read about Lillian Trasher, "When was the last time I sacrificed to give? How often do I ask Jesus to follow me, rather than the other way around? How often do I ask Him to bless my plans, especially those seemingly "good and noble" things I am doing "for Him"? How often do I give in a way that is inconvenient and sacrificial?"
I'm not talking about irresponsible giving! I'm speaking of a gift that costs me something...not just me giving a little of my abundance. And I'm not just talking about money, there are many ways to give. I'm talking about a humble pouring out of myself as a sacrifice, unselfishly. To give of myself; my time, my resources, my gifts, my energy and yes, even my money, to glorify God and expand His kingdom. Honestly, it's much easier to sit where I'm comfy cozy. All the while asking God to use me.
Near the end of Lillian Trasher's life a news reporter asked her, "Miss Trasher, what is the secret of your missionary success? What is the greatest thing you ever did?" Lillian's reply, "There isn't any secret. I just stayed! I did not quit. I stayed with the work God gave me to do."
Lord, purify my heart. Show me how and where to serve - to follow Your call, rather than ask you to follow my plans (even if they seem good). Show me how to live out the call to live in genuine love. Enable me to give of my plenty (in numerous ways) through faith, so that You may be glorified. Not just when it's comfortable and pretty, but all the time. I'm thankful for all You have given. Help me to share of myself as You would. And continue on even when it isn't easy. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
What about you? What is God calling you to do? Not all of us are called to be missionaries, but that doesn't mean He doesn't have work for you to do! I do not believe that God blesses us so that we can hoard up treasures for ourselves and live unchallenged lives. Just look at the lives the patriarchs of the Bible, even Jesus himself, they lives were challenging...and fruitful! In the big things and seemingly small things God blesses faithfulness.
"It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a person's ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: Shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a life with the fewest contacts and relations. If you want to get through life with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as a person begins to enlarge his or her life, resistances are multiplied. Let a person remove petty selfish purposes and enthrone Christ, and suffering will be increased on every side." Henry Jowett
P.S. Lillian used her God given drawing abilities later on when she designed her own building plans for her first official orphanage building. God knows just what He is doing! :)
"And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don't begin until you count the cost...you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything."
Luke 14:27-28, 33