Our logical minds quickly reply, “They don’t know Him yet – someone must go tell them.” But to wrestle with this question and all its implications is to wrestle with understanding the very heart of God. In her book, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places, Kate McCord does this. She draws her readers in, almost as if you’re reading her journaled thoughts of wrestling with the idea of “Why?” Having lived many years in Afghanistan, McCord makes a case for the reasoning behind the call of God to dangerous places for any believer going and any loved one sending. She writes using “we,” identifying with readers who themselves have gone to dangerous places, or have endured sending dear ones.
No stone seems left unturned. No rose-colored glasses tint the view. McCord is honest and real, putting words to the emotions that intermingle with such a calling – resolve, fear, hope, loss, truth, pain, and confidence in Christ. She removes the pedestal and label of super Christian simply calling herself and others “idealistic young men and women hoping to bring light and love into the world” (p.22).
Each chapter addresses various responses to the question “Why does God call us to dangerous places?” each one unfolding her theme and refrain “our very question invites God to reveal his heart to us” (p.21). And so, her work does that very thing, highlights and reveals the heart of God. It’s a beautiful book woven front to back with real life–stories of lives that have forever been changed by walking with God in a dangerous place. It’s theology and practice, a heart and mind’s roadmap when considering the implications of such a calling and the truths necessary to answer with Spirit-led compulsion and obedience with joy.
McCord is gracious and wise to attend to all who are affected by a person going to a dangerous place. She speaks to those who go, their own thoughts and affections taken to new and deep places in their relationship with God. She writes of family members and close friends who wrestle just as deeply with releasing their loved ones to go to a dangerous place and all the truth and resolve and growth that takes place for them in the process.
She writes on behalf of believing communities, sending churches who determined that their role was to commission one of their own out to a dangerous place and it changed them. The goers often leave huge shoes to fill in their ministries, as churches send away their best, but it transforms them. They learn to love and support from afar, watching God move not only in answering their prayers for their “sent one” but in growing their heart for the lost right around them. They experience the “Father-heart of God,” writes McCord. God sent Jesus, his best, to a terribly dangerous place, and churches send out their best workers because they desire to see God’s name praised and worshipped in dangerous places.
McCord dedicates the last couple of chapters just to simmer on the true realities of our God and what being called to a dangerous place actually means. God’s presence is never-failing. He strengthens our “inner-man” (Ephesians 3:16) to follow Him even in the most difficult circumstances. He is enough. We are to love and serve even when hope seems gone trusting that God is the one who “births faith in people’s hearts” (p.175).
God never calls us to something He has not already done. Following Him in going to a dangerous place causes a more intimate closeness as one experiences suffering as Christ and for Christ. McCord declares “I am today more in love with Jesus, than I’ve ever been before” (p.193).
Those fleeting things that once caught our attention and informed our desires fall away. We are stripped of soul-deadening diversions and faith-dulling self-sufficiency. In truth, we lose our lives for Jesus and find our lives in Him. We walk in suffering and recognize the goodness and beauty of God. We are like those who thirsted in the desert and have tasted the sweetest water. We are blessed (p.202-203).
We are not worthy of such a calling, but He is worthy of it all, even our very lives. If God is drawing you to go to a dangerous place, we recommend you read this book and consider giving a copy to your close friends, family, and church. If you want to talk about what God is doing in your heart to prepare you to go or you have questions about the process of getting from here to there, please contact us. We pray daily for the Lord to raise up more workers for the harvest field, places often dangerous and opposed to the gospel, and it’s worth it.
Encompass World Partners’ Mobilization Team seeks to mobilize and equip people and churches who are following Jesus into the missional work he’s doing to make disciples of all nations. You can contact Encompass’ mobilization team at firstname.lastname@example.org.