Pioneer work can be lonely and unrewarding at times. We know we’re doing what the Lord desires, but we’re human. Sometimes our desire for human encouragement and results get in the way of our quest to “live for the pleasure of the One.”
Scripture tells us one man plants and other waters, but God brings the increase. We believe this, but sometimes people serving in the Muslim world feel like they aren’t even sowing seed, as the field is so full of rocks. Digging in this hard soil can be painful and requires determination to do what God wants no matter the costs.
Of course, we aren’t the first to do this kind of work. We stand high on the shoulders of the great pioneers who came before us. Many have found great comfort and encouragement through the years in the pages of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, but did you know this? He is buried in Egypt, where he served from 1915 until his death in 1917 at the age of 43.
Another pioneer in Egypt was Lillian Trasher. “Mama” Lillian sailed to Egypt in 1910 with less than $100 in her pocket. She remained single and lived in Egypt until 1961 when she went home to be with “the father to the fatherless and the husband to the widow.” She captured the heart of pioneering this way:
My work reminds me of the fable of a little boy who was crossing the desert alone. He became very thirsty so he was obliged to dig in the ground with bleeding fingers until he came to water. He drank and went on his weary way. Each time he became thirsty he dug holes and his hands became more torn and bleeding. At last he reached the other side, exhausted and fainting, his clothes hanging in dusty rags.
Some months later he looked across the desert and saw a happy little boy coming with his hands full of fresh flowers. The child was coming the very same way he had traveled. He looked at the strange sight in perfect amazement. When the little boy arrived, he asked him how it could be that he had crossed the awful desert and looked so fresh and cool. The child answered, saying, “Oh, the way is beautiful. There are many small wells out of which spring lovely cool water, and around each of these wells there are flowers and shady bushes and soft green grass. I had no trouble at all in crossing.” The first boy looked down at his own scarred fingers and knew that it was his suffering which had made the desert bloom and had made the way easy for other little boys to cross. But no one would ever know to thank him or to ask who had dug the wells. But, he knew, and was satisfied.
In whom do you find your satisfaction? Let’s live and die for “the pleasure of the One.”