Everyone has phrases or lessons that they picked up from different figures in their lives! All the influential adults. Parents, teachers, coaches. One of the most prominent ones for me was an old Samoan Man who was trying to teach me how to become a Wrestler. Not an easy thing to accomplish with a small 5’6, 165lb boy like I was. To put it plainly, they tortured me. I was bounced around like a rag doll. All this to try and make a wrestler out of a runt! After a grueling 6 hour session of getting beat up by these giant men in a wrestling ring, they would finally let up. I’d limp over to this huge figure staring down at me, and he’d say, “It hurts, but it’s a good kind of pain, son!” Although it may not sound like it, that was his way of comforting me. It was also his way of encouraging me!
I was 19 when I first heard that phrase, but it is still stuck in there at 33. It’s taken on a new meaning, though! It’s not only used when I am trying to get stronger physically, it’s more so when life is just, well, life! When I’m being stretched, and in a rough season. Those words come rushing back to me, and I remember that I am being molded! Not by a teacher, or a coach, or a drill instructor, or anything like that. But by God! Hebrews 12:6 says, “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” If that’s true, I guess I’m one of his favorite sons! Or I need more work than I care to admit!
When I first came to YWAM Maui, I wasn’t 100% sure what I’d be doing here. That didn’t bother me, because I was just happy God opened the door for me to do missions again. During a time when people got stuck, he made a way where there was none! Well if that’s the case, then he must have me here for some big important job, right? Because that thinking doesn’t sound self-righteous at all! Or, he just loves so much that he had another plan that didn’t involve me serving the way I was used to serving!
Getting here was a miracle in itself. The staff moved mountains to bring me in when it was not that convenient, but they were obedient to God! They chose the Kitchen to be where I work! I made it clear that I had no experience, but was willing to learn new skills! After I got settled in, and “comfortable” with my job, I started to ask why God brought me here. He said, “Just focus on cooking!” Wait, I must have heard him wrong. That can’t be right. I reluctantly agreed, but still thought that he meant to do what I normally do along with that. Boy, was I wrong! He told me I am not to minister in the same capacity that I was accustomed to. A major part of which is tackling every task, solving every problem, and meeting every need right in front of me. And doing it immediately! That is part of the culture I am from on the East coast, and it is also from my job experience. It was scary, and it was frustrating. I was angry, and honestly, it was painful.
As soon as I accepted how I felt, those words from that big Samoan came rushing back to my head! Now it made sense what was going on! “Ok Lord, I see what you are saying!” I took the time to ask one of the leaders here about my dilemma. She had a very similar situation happen to her! She understood my anger and frustration but reassured me that God isn’t doing this to punish me. It’s a new lesson to learn to prepare me for whatever is next! Just like that, I felt better!
So what is next? I don’t know, and until the big guy tells me I just assume it’s none of my business at the moment! See that’s part of the lesson too. Trust! Do we trust him that his discipline is not just for serving the kingdom, but also for our benefit? I will never sit here and say it’s easy. I will tell you though, once I surrendered my right to do things the way I was used to, I had peace!
I don’t have all the answers to this season. I trust the one who has the answers to it, and press on! Cooking for this wonderful base that has allowed me to call it home for the past few months! Waiting as patiently as I can until I get my next marching orders! It’s not a pain-free venture though, boys and girls! However, this is not without a plan or purpose. This is that deep, uprooting discipline we get from a good, good father! As frustrating as it is, and much as it hurts. It’s a good kind of pain!
Written by Jon Tenney, a YWAM Maui staff member.