"Be safe." Words uttered from my mouth fairly often. Especially when someone I love is traveling. Or going to a foreign country in particular. My particular anxieties on this topic have been with me since childhood. When I was a young girl and my parents would leave the house to go to dinner I would anxiously shout to them as they left, "Be safe!! Wear your seatbelt!!" I think even as I child I was painfully aware of the dangers in the world.
But I have been convicted this week with this--am I holding those I love most in an open palm? Will I have a willing heart, for example, if the Lord calls one of my babies, as a young man, to the foreign mission field? Would I send him off with joy as the primary emotion in my heart for his answering the Lord's call, rather than fear or worry for his safety? Those are hard questions, ones to wrestle with. Obviously I know what the right answer is, and where my heart should be on it. I know that if I have a heart level understanding that as Christians our citizenship is not in this world, my stance is clear. But I must pray that when the rubber meets the road I would have that joyful heart. God did not give his children a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power and boldness. That is truly exciting when you remember that and learn to tap into it through relationship with Jesus.
This weekend is world missions week at our church. I got to hear from several different missionaries this morning who have left much behind and made many personal sacrifices to take the gospel to people groups around the world. As a child I never liked this particular week at church, for various reasons--but now it is one of my very favorites. It is so eye opening to hear their stories. It gets me outside of myself and my little bubble of existence. It helps me to examine and affirm if I am doing what I'm called to do. A scary question when one has invested many years and lots of money into an education for a specific vocation! But the prayerful examining is important. Reminds me of Socrates' famous quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
It is probably not a coincidence that I am currently reading "Follow Me", a book by David Platt, who is our denomination's current International Mission Board president. I don't necessarily agree with everything theologically in the book, but overall, I think the heart of the book (so far--I'm about halfway through) is spot on. He talks about being compelled to share Jesus out of an overflow of our joy in relationship with him, rather than simply because we (if you are a Christian) are commanded to.
And here, just for fun--is a little video of my sweet T.Mark reciting some scripture he learned recently. I will do a blog post about that soon. He is only two--and yet his little mind and heart are so ripe and receptive to it. I have seen lately how the Lord so obviously primes and prepares little hearts to be open and interested in Him. In the last few days (as part of an advent book I'm going through with him) it has really been evident. I've been blown away honestly by how inquisitive he is about it and how much he wants to learn.
In the Beginning from Carter | Sledge Family Dentistry on Vimeo.