I'm restless. I know there is a season for everything. There is a season to wait on The Lord. I wait for Him to lead me. Still, I'm restless. We've only been home with Emily for 3 months. I've also taken on the daunting task of homeschooling my oldest son next year. Add in my career as a bookkeeper. Wife. Mother of 4. I am fully aware of the responsibility God has entrusted me with. I have a firm grasp on the fact that my mission field is, first and foremost, in my home. But I have a tendency to use that as an excuse. I shouldn't hide within my walls and ignore the hurting and lost who God craves to save. Naive? Maybe. But there's a reason He puts this fire in me. I don't know where he's leading us next. But my heart aches for the orphan and I am commanded to care for them. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) We are all called to care for them. "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." (Isaiah 1:17)
I yearn to honor Him in all that I do. Then ... Reality strikes. I get in the way. My flesh, my sin, my inherent state. My fears, my doubts, my "what if"s. All of it stops me from devoting myself completely in gratitude. I must remind myself. There is no tomorrow. There is only today. Only this breath. And this one breath is only mine because He has given it. We must remind each other. If you are a lover of Christ, I implore you. Give thanks for the breath you are taking at this moment and transform that gratitude in to life-changing, God-glorifying, gospel-living.
What are we afraid of? Why aren't we sharing the good news with the lost? Why have I only adopted one child of the millions who cry themselves to sleep every night? Why can't we welcome a foster child who needs a temporary home? Why aren't we fighting for justice within our own country, against the genocide (the killing of millions of babies through abortion) that we fund with God's money? Why haven't I visited any of the prisons that are so close to my home? These souls are ripe to be picked for freedom! Why haven't I reached out, on a deeper level, to the precious widows in my own church family?
When I ask myself these questions, my answer is a resounding, "AMEN!" but I take little action. Wanna' know what I'm afraid of? Maybe I'll have to go without one of my many luxuries. I'd really miss lavish vacations or even my nap. I don't know where to start. Maybe I'll fail and everyone will say "I told you so." Maybe my family will oust me. Maybe a foster child would "mess up" my children's lives. People will think I'm a crazy "holy roller". Maybe I'll die if I go there. Here's what I have to say to each of those fears that I hold so close... So? Seriously. So what?
Laura... Friends... death to self is a privilege. "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (John 12:25) Anything that leads to eternal life in Christ is worth sacrificing. One of my favorite pastors, Tim Keller, reminded me recently, "You. Will. Miss. Nothing." Nothing. There is nothing on this earth that's worth keeping. Nothing. Not my wealth. Not my education. Not my appearance. Not my health. Not even my family. Yes, Christ even comes before the precious souls in my home. Hands down. Everything I want on this earth will be fulfilled in heaven a million times bigger and better. I know this. So who cares about my comfort or my standing with people while I am here? I am the royal daughter of God himself and that is one fine crown I'll be wearing in glory! Radical? Nah. Not when we realize who Christ is and what He did for us.
What if we really believed that there is no tomorrow? What would your today look like? Mine would look incredibly different than it actually does. I would get the heck outta' suburbia America. I would be on the next plane to the most horrific orphanage I could find (and they are not hard to find) and I would cradle every child in my arms at one time and I would pray. I would kiss cheeks, and rub backs, and tell the good news, and cry, and pray some more. My day would be rich. It would be meaningful. And it would please God.
This is where I say, "I'm not saying be reckless and drop everything to serve The Lord." Except I'm not gonna' say that. If you are my brother, I expect you to encourage me to "take up my cross" to follow Christ. That looks different in every one's life but nonetheless, should always look radical from the world's perspective. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1)
Sin. Unfathomable grace to cover that sin. Gratitude. Gratitude so deep that it leads to action. Action that honors Christ, action that tells who He is. Take action. Not for merit (you can't earn that with God), rather out of gratitude for all He has already done on your behalf. When the fear sets in, focus on the kingdom ahead. The doubts that creep in... those are lies told to us by this world and the enemy. Stay focused on truth. Love deeply. Trust Him. There is no tomorrow. What does your today look like?
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Phil.4:8-9)