Focusing on the Unseen (by guest Dale Biser)
I met Dale Biser on a Global Missions Project trip to Germany. He was the bass player in our 50+-member Celebration Orchestra. His jolly disposition and charismatic personality charmed everyone who met him. Nobody would have guessed it was his first GMP trip; he seemed so at ease. Nobody would have thought he was feeling inadequate for the task. But that was far from the truth, as he confessed later on the trip. He almost took an early flight home at one point until the Lord dealt with his heart. I asked him about his impressions of the Germany GMP experience. This is what he had to say:
I was nervous about the trip. I had never played in an orchestra before and wasn’t sure I could keep up with everyone. My mom twisted my arm to ask me to join her. She had been on numerous GMP trips playing her oboe. I was so nervous I had difficulty sleeping before the trip. One could argue these were unwarranted feelings, but I couldn’t deny the reality of what was happening.
I had a steep learning curve as I acclimated to the situation, but the grace of our conductor, Richard Kingsmore, and the help of fellow orchestra members guided me along the way. I had difficulty accepting compliments, thinking they were only being given because I was so bad. But I realized folks were genuinely trying to make me feel better and to boost my confidence. The entire team was behind me, behind everyone. We supported one another, especially the newbies like me. There were a lot of us. We came from different states, different churches, and different walks of life to form this fantastic orchestra to present the gospel through music.
Each team member did what they could to encourage me, which made a huge difference. I appreciated the trombone player who interpreted what sounded like gibberish to me from the conductor. He told me the conductor simply meant to play softer as the measure continued. Oh, okay. No problem.
While in Germany, God shook me to remind me that when I focus on Him and offer the best of what I have, He will use my obedience and make something great out of it. But it was up to me to focus on God and trust that He knows how to best “orchestrate” (I couldn’t help myself) the skills and talents He gave me.
I have been on mission trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the eastern regions of the US, but this one was unique. I even served as a full-time missionary from 2014-2016 for Youth with a Mission or Y-WAM. Our trips were rugged in comparison to Germany. I struggled with the validity of what we were doing. The idea that I’m not uncomfortable enough to be doing something good for God kept going through my head. I came to grips that this couldn’t be further from the truth. God wants all of us to know Him and grow closer to Him. Ultimately, that’s what I felt He used me for on this trip – to help others draw closer to God.
I was judging my surroundings and comfort as a level of importance to God’s work. There were times I felt inadequate, unprepared, and unfocused. However, when I focused on God and did what He asked me to do, those thoughts became a non-issue.
I developed an “open hand” mindset, meaning I needed to receive, to make myself a vessel to just be. It put the focus back on God. I was in Germany. I was where God wanted me to be. Leaving my hand open and allowing God to put in it and take out what He wanted was what I needed to do. Simple enough. Once the focus was back on God, I was fine.
This was especially important as I had intended to do some job interviews while on the trip. Being between jobs, I thought I would have time to schedule things and get my career going in a different direction. I determined this would not happen since our schedule seemed more fluid-like and evolving. Daily agendas were more spontaneous than what I anticipated. I finally had to put that aside and tell the company I was interviewing with that I was focusing on my mission in Germany. Interviews would have to be postponed until my return. After doing that, the stress disappeared and was replaced with abundant joy. I felt alive! Changing my focus changed my attitude. God was my priority. The mission was my purpose.
Focusing on the right thing is my biggest takeaway from the entire trip. The relationships I made and the work I did were noteworthy and memorable blessings. Removing myself and focusing on God and His plan made all the difference.
So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (II Corinthians 4:18).
Dale Biser has a heart for missions and music. When he’s not working in the leather chemical industry, he is playing his bass guitar at his church in Dover, New Hampshire. In addition to serving the Lord through music, he has worked tirelessly with youth, having been a camp counselor, a church youth leader, and a missionary for Youth with a Mission. Work, church, worship, and youth sum up Dale’s life and interests.