Wednesday, August 18, 2010

count it gain

One of the underlying fears restraining Christians from abandoning ourselves to doing what God asks is the fear that, if we obey, we'll lose out in some way; we'll come out short.

"God is not a deceiver, that He should offer to support us, and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us." -St. Augustine

We'd like to affirm that obeying God's call, even when it means huge life changes, does NOT leave Christians with the short end of the stick. Yes, there are things about our own culture, and things about our former lifestyle that we miss, but after living over a year here where God has led us, we have found unquestionable gain.

What have we gained?!??
*We have gained an incredible front-row display of God's unfailing faithfulness.
*We have gained a whole new perspective on how He works through the body of believers to provide for His work.
*We have gained an amazingly rich adventure full of experiences shared as a family that has bonded us together as nothing else could.
*We have gained a much broader world-view; our children number their friends from many continents.
*We have gained a vibrant community of fellow-workers who, though imperfect like us, share a common goal and have shown unparalleled inclusiveness.
*We have gained from the culture of our Filipino hosts as we learn to slow down and to value relationships more highly from their daily example.
*We have gained beautiful 30 cent pineapples dripping with sweetness unlike any pineapple we've ever tasted.
*We have gained a status of honor in our host country; we have been treated with grace and kindness.
*We have gained places of refreshment and rest...from Eden to Paradise.
*We have gained an experience of the universality of the Church as we worship together with believers of other tongues.
*We have gained a growing compassion for the poor, who are our neighbors.
*We have gained opportunities to grow in ways we never expected.

"The meaning of earthly existence lies, not as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul."
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Would we trade all of that to be back in the U.S. 'prospering' with a boring regular paycheck instead of depending daily on God's provision, driving an unremarkable minivan instead of riding colorful jeepneys, shopping at Target (okay, I admit I miss Target!) and comparing deals with my neighbor instead of hiring kids to earn a few pesos and some kind words?

Will I ever be fooled again into thinking that some more material stuff could be satisfying?

But our family has lived next-door to how the rest of the world lives. We've seen contentment and joy on faces of poverty-stricken people. We've shared lunch with blind brothers and sisters, and we've worked and laughed with dirty kids who have no shoes. We've prayed with our neighbor over illness and death. We've held babies whose hair is laced with lice and whose teeth are already rotting. And it's changed us. God has changed us.

All that gain, and I haven't even begun to describe the reason why God brought us here! I wish I could, but in this context we just are not able to share about our work. But we've gained so much more in the work we are privileged to do here!

Is it worth what we gave up?

Without a doubt. Life is short. Eternity is long.
Eternal investments just make good logical sense.
And in answering God's call on your life, there is unquestionable gain - now, and much more in eternity!


Rosalie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! It's so refreshing. The enemy doesn't want us to find out how good God really is. He tries to convince us that prosperity is just more and better stuff. True prosperity is being planted by the rivers of water, living in and moving by the Holy Spirit, and just naturally bearing fruit. (Psalm 1) It's having enough to share with others, and to prosper the Kingdom. You have rich hearts toward God and you are being made rich. Thanks so much for this beautiful account affirming his great goodness. Love you all and miss you!

us5 said...

thank you, Rosalie! i wish i could say that we always live in the light of His goodness; we still have far to grow...

Carl G. said...

I echo Rosalie's comments! Seems that so many of the things we readily classify as "risks" are far less risky than the pursuit of safety and comfort. I'm proud of you guys for joining the dangerous but thrilling dance of the KIngdom!