I ambled along en route to my connecting gate. “Where is this gate?” I thought to myself. The narrow and secluded hallway planted seeds of doubt in me as to whether or not I was on the right path to my next flight. It was my first time in Toronto, so I felt somewhat uncertain of my location in the airport. “This is not the time to get lost”, I mused. I need to be sure I get to my destination on time. After all, I am facing an important moment in my life.
That moment was, for all practical purposes, a new crossroads in my life, just like my connection in the Toronto airport. But new is not always better. This new junction was that anticipated moment of going home to attend my mother’s funeral.
Just how well would I handle this connection in my journey of life as a missionary living overseas? Eleven years ago I said good-bye to Mom’s second husband and long before that I said “good-bye” to my own father. But now this leg of the journey introduced a “farewell” that brought a sense of feeling uncertainty, a sense of “what’s next?” I felt like I did not want to take this next step in a new phase of my life. Mom had succumbed to a short battle with cancer, leaving behind a true legacy of love and sacrifice.
For this reason I feel as though I am facing a transition in my life and career. From here, with Mom in heaven, and my four siblings and I to go on (each with their spouses and or situations in life), this moment catupulted me and my family to a point where life would be different. A missionary for thirty-one years, I was now without my biggest backer.
But the connection from where I was to where I would be wasn’t Mom, as a person. It was her determined faith and in her loving obedience to the Lord Jesus. She lived 84 years, and from the point of her surrendering his life to Christ as her personal Savior, it was a walk of faith. Mom lived in a home for seniors about six years after her health began to fail. While there she rarely missed an opportunity to speak of the Lord’s presence and care. She walked by faith and I reminded myself so must I.
My connecting flight in Toronto was to begin boarding soon. I had found the right gate, with enough time to grab a cup of coffee and a bagel while waiting. With my Mom promoted to glory, I could see this was an opportunity to build my faith and live as she had: with an unshakable faith in His plan and design. The connecting flight led to my destination: Cleveland, Ohio. And while boarding I prayed I would have the spiritual tenacity and the sensitivity to see what God wanted to teach me personally through this moment.
Life and ministry, both at home and overseas, requires that we go through some transitions and new stages. Saying farewell to my Mother (Barbara Rogers-Purnell) became one of those transitions for me. And I knew that the design the Lord had for me in this stage was to make me more useful and fruitful in His service.
Ready for Change,
David L. Rogers