One of the first spiritual illustrations I learned was the “F-Train”. There are three parts to this train:
The engine is Fact. Followed by Faith. The caboose is Feeling. Fact+Faith+Feeling.
Facts are the truths that we find in the Bible, the promises of God.
Faith is our belief in God’s truth and active choice to obey Him.
Feelings are our emotions that may or may not agree with the Facts or our Faith.
The good news is that if we discipline ourselves to put Fact first, powered by our Faith, then Feelings will fall in line. However, when we let our Feelings lead, we will surely derail.
As you may have guessed from my previous posts, I am passionate about the nations. My personal mission is that the Lord would use my life to reach the nations for Him. For a while, I assumed that this meant I would be an overseas missionary for the rest of my life. But when God started to reveal that He had other plans for me, as I have mentioned in the past, I had to refer back to “Fact, Faith, and Feelings” to keep my heart in check.
Yes, the Lord does call us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), but He also tells us that everyone is our neighbor (Luke 10:25-37). The well-to-do CEO living in an upscale suburban neighborhood in the States needs Jesus just as much as the impoverished, starving
cripple in a less developed country.
When I began to hear God ask me “What if I want you to stay? Will you trust me?”, I clung to several promises that helped build my faith. Here are a few examples of promises I leaned on:
Psalm 46:10 - God will be exalted among the nations regardless of where I am
Habakkuk 1:5 - God is moving and working in the world even though I may not see it
Isaiah 45:23/Philippians 2:9-11 - Every tongue and every nation will confess Him as Lord
Romans 4:20-21 - I can be assured that whatever God has promised, He is able to perform
While I may not be overseas, I can choose to obey God in my daily life and be a good steward of all that He has given me. In this way, I can be part of advancing the kingdom and making disciples, not just by physically going somewhere, but by giving and praying.
There are still times when I feel that strong pull on my heart to travel to distant lands. I day-dream of far off places and romanticize the adventures I would have. But then I open my eyes and see what is around me - my Judea, full of lost and broken people who are looking for hope and redemption. There are times when my emotions are like a pendulum or a roller coaster or both at the same time, eventually they eventually get back on track and I am able to feel content and rest in the goodness of God.
So, remember the F-Train: Fact, Faith, then Feeling. When do you seem to get these out of order?