Preparing for NYC

By Timothy, the cosmopolitan-because-he’s-in-the-big-city Rope Contributor


By the time this post goes up, I think I will have been in New York City for about a week. I’m writing this now on my last day at work before I go on a two week cross-cultural mission trip with a couple of guys from my M.Div. program (master of divinity) at Beeson Divinity School as part of our degree requirement. I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this trip, and what better way to process things than through writing, right?

In a lot of ways, I’m really really excited about this trip. I love New York City. My wife and I would love to live in NYC someday. I’m a city boy through and through. I love the lights, the easy access to cultural pursuits like art galleries and concerts, the good local restaurants and the coffee shops. I’m getting to go to this amazing city and do ministry for two weeks. It’s a huge opportunity.

Yet at the same time, I’m not that excited. Maybe it’s the fact that my wife won’t be with me and we’ve never been apart for this long before. Maybe it’s the fact that I really don’t know much of what I’ll be doing while I’m there. I think it’s probably mostly the fact that this is a requirement and I have a bit of an anti-authoritarian streak in me.

Something I have been reminding myself over and over lately is that God is bigger than my expectations.

I have no doubt that He is able to work in ways that I can’t foresee or anticipate. It’s funny because we often limit God in our minds. We tell him what He can and cannot do, how He can and cannot work. I’m often reminded of God speaking in Job 38, reminding Job that he was not present when God was creating everything and that his knowledge is so small in comparison with God’s knowledge. I often feel like a little kid standing on the edge of the ocean telling it just how far it can come onto the land while a tidal wave builds just beyond the horizon, prepared to wash me away.

I bet  my time in NYC will be fantastic. I bet  I will come back changed and more in love with serving God, because that is what has happened on every missions trip I’ve been on. But it just doesn’t feel like that will happen right now. In a moment of extreme vulnerability, I’m admitting that I don’t expect much to happen while also fully expecting to have my life changed, because I’m a walking contradiction.

So, like I said at the beginning, I’ve been in NYC for about a week now. Future Timothy probably doesn’t feel this way anymore, but if you’re reading this would you mind saying a prayer for me, for the two guys I’m with and for Mosaic Baptist Church who I will be working with? Join me in trusting that God is bigger than my expectations.


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