It's crazy to think that Dan and I are flying out in 5 days to Czech Republic! Then I think about all the things that we have to get done beforehand, plus the many ways I want to spend with our kids before our 4 week separation.....sigh.... I keep telling myself to take a deep breath in and trust God. Off and on I have thoughts of "what if something happens to us or our kids when we're gone?", "what about the moments when the kids really miss me and I'm not there to comfort them?" People have been asking how I have been doing, and my answer is "I'm super excited and terrified at the same time", but Jesus is worth it. I know our kids will be in excellent care, but being gone from them for 4 weeks will be a stretch for all of us.
The cost of following Jesus will never always be easy, but the sacrifices we face to follow Him is worth it. I was thinking about this passage:
As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:56-62)
Side note: we need to understand that Jesus knew what was behind their hearts when they claimed they wanted to follow him. He wasn't saying that those who choose to follow will never have a place to sleep nor that it is wrong to tend to family needs (He actually encourages that elsewhere); here He was teaching and testing to see if He Himself was their greatest treasure/priority.
Along our journey of preparing to move long-term to Czech, there have been quite a few who have either said "How could you do that to your mother?" or "I could never support someone who would take grandkids away from their grandparents"; I too have had to wrestle with these things. Once we get to Czech I will miss out on my brothers having kids, important moments with my sister, parents, and in-laws, probably my grandma's funeral, and life-changing events that my dear friends encounter. I'll be honest: it does sadden me and there has been a "grieving" that I have wrestled through - but Jesus is worth it! He is so worth it. He was identifying hidden idols in those men's hearts to not only reveal that to them, but to see if they would still follow amidst all of those events in their lives.
When he said those things to the people, he was on his way to Jerusalem where he'd face the brutality of the cross. But Jesus also knew what was on the other side of the cross: redemption for sinners and life in God for believers. Jesus will always be the greatest missionary who ever lived because he chose to leave the glorious presence of God and the beauty of His kingdom to a humble birth, filled with people who would hate, betray, and want nothing of Him so that we who are sinners may be made right with God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." – C.T. Studd
And after I think about those things and the goodness of God in His perfect wisdom, I am warmly reminded that there is no fear in Jesus. Giving my life to follow His plan for me is freedom for me because although I want to know every little detail in the next 20 steps I have to take - trusting Jesus in step before me is enough. God is enough. In fact, He is more than enough.
This changes everything for me. What was once a fear, is now a breathtaking opportunity to join Jesus in His mission.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! (Romans 10:14-15)
This is why we want to go. Mission exists because worship doesn't, and we want to pour out our lives to see Jesus made much of.