I entered the fall of my senior year at school feeling, quite honestly, like a spiritual failure – burnt out after a long year abroad, a painfully broken romantic relationship, and a sinking feeling of being stuck, spinning my wheels, in the frustrating struggle for sexual purity.
In short, when I heard from my best friend about the iEDGE program, my reaction was mostly one of wistful regret: “I wish that my failures – especially those in the fight for purity – had not disqualified me from this opportunity to follow Christ into the nations,” I thought.
From my times in prayer with the Lord, however, I became convinced that He wanted me to apply. I felt sure that, if I did apply, I would be facing hard, shaming conversations and eventually rejection, but I applied, thinking ultimately that God perhaps wanted to humble me in the process.
What I discovered was that the Lord is indeed “near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). While the iEDGE application and interview process was thorough and even probing at times, a spirit of love – God’s own Spirit – dominated the process.
I could tell that the questions asked were asked from a perspective of trying to discern how best to help me live in intimate relationship with the Lord and, from that, be a productive laborer in His kingdom. It was clear that the staff who were forming the various teams were for my good even as they were Kingdom-minded in their long-term vision.
Since joining The Navigators as iEDGE Staff, I have found them to take the charge to spur one another on in love to good works (Hebrews 10:24-25) very seriously. I have had both help and accountability, both loving encouragement and hard conversations, in good measure, and I am grateful to be walking in the light of truth with them to advance the gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom into the nations.
If you are unsure of whether to apply for iEDGE because of your struggles, past or present, with sexual sin, I would encourage you not to allow the shame associated with that sin to make you feel disqualified from the Great Commission. Rather, first talk with your discipler, your campus director, and the Navigators iEDGE team about the state of your spiritual health – they are for you! – and trust that God will use you in exactly the context He has for you, no matter what, to your good and to His glory.