I’ve never been one of those parents who naturally assumes that all of their children will stay close by for their entire life. Maybe it’s because I always wanted to see the world but life had a different way with me. Maybe it’s because I’ve got family living all over the world. Maybe it’s because I just always thought there’s more to life than me, and I want them to know it.
So it wasn’t scary to introduce my children to missions the way I’ve heard it can be. Apparently.
I guess, so I’ve heard, there are people out there who don’t want their children to move across the world. There are parents who can’t handle the thought of them being out of their grasp. People who love missions and the idea of missions and even support missionaries but have never been bold enough to pray that it might be their children who would be going.
Not me, man.
Sure, it was hard for me to say goodbye to our son at the airport. Yes, it was difficult thinking he was going to be gone for so long. Sure, I wondered along the way how he would fare if he got a migraine or threw up, if he was eating veggies and drinking enough water.
But once he was gone I was fine. Not that we don’t miss him around here and not that we can’t wait to have him back, but I knew the things that he was experiencing were so. much. bigger (!!) than we could give him here. And I want that for him! I want that for all my children.
We’re a family that believes that missions isn’t something that only happens abroad. We truly believe that there are ways to live missionally right here in our own city, where God has placed us. We believe that we are here for a bigger reason that just to live, work, eat, and die. We are here for the purpose of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. Part of that glorifying comes from obeying his commands and one of them is to love, love, love, love, love! And so we do that, right here.
But one of his commands is also to make disciples of all nations and he doesn’t just give this command to a few or with some sort of caveat. Make disciples of all nations – if you feel called. Make disciples of all nations – if you have the money. Make disciples of all nations by sending others to do the work. Make disciples of all nations if you’re that super crazy person who always wears long skirts and no make up and likes living a simpler kind of life.
Nope. Make disciples of all nations is something he says to all of us. You. Me. My kids.
You may recall that awhile back our family started praying for unreached people groups around the world. I knew when we started, but even more so a few weeks in, that this was opening our kids eyes up to something really big. It was showing them that there are groups of people around the world who have never heard the gospel message, never laid eyes upon a bible and never, ever heard about what Jesus has done for them.
We weep for these people groups. There are so many of them. So many tribes who have never heard. So many cultures with languages no one can communicate in.
The boys ask, “How come people don’t go to them?”
Right. How come people don’t go to them?
Well, because it’s scary and it takes a lot of work and its dangerous and it means leaving their families and friends. It also means living somewhere that is very different then what they’re use to and maybe giving up a really good job or a nice house. It might mean leaving everything you know behind and starting a new sort of life. It means dedicating your life to something different then we’re use to here. It means raising money, which can be humbling. It means studying a new culture. It means travel to far away places and it means trusting in God to protect you where their may be poisonous snakes or cannibals or civil unrest. It might mean being imprisoned or beheaded for even mentioning the name of Jesus.
But someone’s got to. Someone’s got to go, right? Because what if no one goes?
And this is where the rubber hits the road and we say that we can’t just send ‘others’ to do this. We need to go! We need to send! We need to pray that if that’s where God wants us that He would lead us there! And so we do.
So far, we know that he wanted our son in Ireland for 31 days.
What’s next? Who knows. Israel for a few weeks? India for a year? Peru? Guatamala? Haiti? Zambia? Egypt? London? Somewhere for a lifetime? Who knows! Who knows what He has in store for our children. I just know that I don’t want to be the one in the way of them living out what God has for them. I want to be their biggest fan!
Of course, I’ll cry at the airport like I always do. But knowing our children are in God’s grasp is the only comfort I need. Well, and maybe more than a 2 word text now and then.
And learn by doing!
I pray the pattern would continue in his life.