Today’s message of Hope comes from World Racer Rachel Snow as she processes leaving the Race six months early. She shares about her journey to embrace the concept of abandoning everything for the World Race and how it prepared her to embrace this unexpected change fully believing God is not done with her and the best is yet to come.
The word abandonment has been on my mind throughout the race. That’s part of what I signed up for. The World Race isn’t supposed to be comfortable or easy. It’s supposed to be the abandonment of worldly values and the surrender of ourselves in order to serve God. I signed up for the World Race to experience different cultures and people on THEIR level, not mine. Just as God meets us where we are at instead of expecting us to reach His ultimate level of holiness. Last month, I lost intimacy with God because I was so mentally and physically exhausted from dealing with a tragic loss at home. I wanted that intimacy back. I wanted that closeness that I felt with God month 2 in Ecuador when I heard His voice speaking to me everyday.
This month in Eswatini we stayed on a homestead, which is basically what the locals call a big plot of land. There were only 8 beds for the 20 of us. The abandonment process started fast. As we set up our tents in the rain the night we arrived, I was nervous about the next month, but God had a different plan.
On the World Race abandonment becomes normal after a while. I’m used to not having Wifi. I’m used to eating whatever is put in front of me. I’m used to submitting to people I don’t know and not knowing the plan. But one thing I had never tried before was fasting. Growing up, people used it more as bragging rights than a reason to grow with God. Fasting is meant for us to surrender to God and to come into partnership with Him. I decided I was going to take this on. I was scared at first and was full of doubt. Could my body handle it? Would I just become hypoglycemic and faint like I always do? What if I fail? As I spoke these concerns into existence, a squadmate said, “you can never fail at fasting. All that matters is that you surrendered to God”. I stopped looking at it as a challenge and more as a partnership. That first Sunday I never became hungry. My stomach growled but I never felt hungry. This was because I was being filled spiritually. When we surrender all to God, He will provide what we need, whether that’s food, money, love, discipleship, or understanding.
During this Sunday fast, God revealed to me some insecurities that I need to grow in and that I have trust issues when it comes to people in control. Because of things that have happened in the past, I don’t trust people in power quickly. They have to show me that they can be trusted. As I get older, this has poured over into everyday relationships. I keep people at an arm’s length until I know they can be trusted and if they break that trust, the relationship is over. In order to grow in this, I have to release all control to God. This includes the big things and the everyday decisions that I make. I had no idea that God was about to take all control away from me.
March 14th was supposed to be our halfway point on the World Race. Instead it was the day we headed home. The coronavirus has followed us from country to country, always appearing as we left. God has protected us for the past four months and led us to Eswatini where there are still no recorded cases of the virus. We were in our own world doing God’s work. Everyday I would try to get some sort of update on the coronavirus as the world began to panic. Everyday I saw the numbers of cases and death rise. Everyday I thought we were invincible…until India closed their borders. Within 36 hours we were “re-routed”, PVT (parent vision trip was canceled), the decision to bring us home was made, and we were on a bus heading out of Eswatini. How could this be happening? How can we be going home 6 months early? As all my hopes and dreams for the next 6 months came crashing down, God reminded me why I signed up for this trip. I didn’t sign up for the World Race to travel the world, see the wonders of the world, or to hike the Camino. I signed up for the World Race to serve Him and to go where He leads me. God took control of our Race and re-routed us to the States.
As we sat together, processing what was actually happening, I had to do something. The people that have become my family are hurting and scared, what can I do? Hayden and I had planned a halfway celebration for the next day and had bought balloons for the squad to write their joys and praises on and then let them go to give to God. I stood up, grabbed Hayden, and we ran to get them. Once we got back to the squad (and I got my asthma under control from the run), we had a different kind of celebration. As I passed out the balloons, I told my squad mates that I wanted each of them to write 3 things on the balloon; one thing that they have grown in or God has shown them the past 6 months, one thing that they want to continue growing in the next 6 months, and one thing that they fear the most going home 6 months early.
Once everyone was done, we gathered and prayed and then let go of our balloons. We gave all our fears, worries, joys, and celebrations to God. No one knows what’s next, but in the end we are all pieces of God’s game. He moves us to where He needs us, whether that be to protect us, prepare us, or use us. We can’t lose sight of the ultimate plan and that is to bring His kingdom down to earth.
Our race is not finished yet. There are hundreds of missionaries returning to the United States and then scattering to their hometowns. God needs us in the States more than He needs us abroad. This is only a pit stop in our race.
God isn’t finished with us yet.