Friday, April 5, 2013

mãos abertas: open hands

TIME magazine just published the poll: Where would you most like to move?
Gallup surveyed more than 500,000 people in 154 countries. They projected it onto the world's population for these stats:
US - 138 million
UK - 42 million
Canada - 37 million
France - 31 million
Saudi Arabia - 29 million

So...why in the world are we moving to Brazil?

When we finished our house renovation 2+ years ago, I wrote:
Oh, how I want my life to be so much more of this! Not redoing another house, but investing in something that will outlast these four walls. One great day this will all pass away when the ultimate Before and After returns {Revelation 22.12}...May the pictures of this earth never outshine the beauty that is to come!  And, may the award we are seeking be for the honor of the One named Faithful and True, the King of kings, Lord of lords {Revelation 19}...Thankful for the chance to be involved in His restoration project. This house may look nice. But it is worthless if it is not used as a tool to invest in our true home

We have always prayed that would be true. We are followers of Jesus - our hope, salvation, King, friend. But many don't have this choice. They couldn't trust in Him even if they wanted to. They have never heard. Before we were ever Mr. and Mrs., we had the desire that our lives would play a role in telling the nations of our Savior. 

12+ years ago, we said "I do." We merged our lives and plans and ambitions into one grand adventure...together. We put on rings and updated our passports. Months turned into years, doors closed and others opened, kids were added and hairs have been lost, diagnoses have come and gone. We have learned to be content and rooted here. Believing that while we are here, we will be all here: equipping, sending, praying, telling. We have become friends with dear people from all over the world right in this town. But our desire has never changed. What good is hope if it isn't shared? How will they ever hear? 

And now, what has been brewing in our hearts for years continues to unfold into more plans than dreams, steps than stirring. This is the part where the details of what brought us to this point used to seem much more relevant than they are now. All those circumstances that left us scratching our heads, wondering why faded somewhere along the way. Somehow God used all that to awaken a willingness and passion to go where He leads. To have open hands.

Last fall, Andy was contacted about teaching at a New Tribes Bible School in Brazil that trains pastors and missionaries (to go to the unreached). We were considering this in prayer. But before we talked, I wanted to process logistics. Sitting in Starbucks, I opened up my notebook to think through pros and cons. But all that welled up in my mind was the sadness of leaving our family, friends, church, school, house... Then the fear of the unknowns and loss of comforts set in. I closed my notebook and put down my pen. Was not ready to go there. It was near Christmas, so I opened my Bible to read the birth of Jesus. As I was flipping, an underlined passage stuck out to me. I paused to read it. (That's as normal as I can make this sound. It really happened so fast, but undeniably powerful.) The verse happened to be Jonah speaking in the belly of the whale. After he had come to terms with not wanting to go to Ninevah, he says: 

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Jonah 3.8

There were tears.
I never got to that pros and cons list. Didn't need to. 
It was as if God met me right there over that cup of coffee.
And showed me that family, friends, comfort, this house...those aren't wrong. But if that's what I'm clinging to rather than Jesus and where He leads, then they have become idols. And I am missing it. It goes on to say:

But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You.
Jonah 3.9

These steps require sacrifice. Not just for us and all the changes to come. But for those we hold dear. Those who speak love and support as they blink back tears. I feel their pain, the anticipation of the loss of years and memories. But I believe He is gracious. He who calls is faithful. And this is not all there is!

One Day, He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain...I am making everything new! He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Revelation 21

Whether we are here or there, the goal does not change. 
We just want to live our days with this Day in mind. To make the most of this life. Because the End is only the beginning.

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