We Are Called to the Nations, but Are Our Kids?
In the coming months, my family and I will be moving to the mission field and will stay until the Lord calls us somewhere else…if that happens.
My wife and I have received many questions as we prepare to go. “How long will you stay? Where are you going? What people will you serve?” On a funnier note, we have been asked, "Will you take your kids with you?". Sometimes, we tell people we are not taking them, just to see their expressions. The answer is "yes" if you weren't quite sure.
We often hear, "How do your kids feel about going to the mission field?" Full disclosure- our kids are unapologetically excited about flying on the plane with their own seat-back TV screen, unlimited screen time, and of course, being close to the beach. Really Gospel-centered, Great Commission stuff, am I right?!
They also have some apprehensions. Our daughter recently asked out of trepidation, "How will we be able to play and talk to friends if we can’t talk to them in their language?" If you are a parent, you have likely heard these types of questions. We sometimes don’t have a satisfying or encouraging answer to give them.
However, questions like these have provided healthy, honest conversation in our family. We hope to listen well, validate their feelings, and explain what we are doing for the Lord and His Kingdom will be undeniably hard at times. Simultaneously, we talk through those fears in parallel with the timeless truths of God's sustaining power, grace, and the promise of His presence. These are all things my wife and I have to remind ourselves as well.
Psalm 104:5 is fitting and encouraging, "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!"
It does not take much time in your Bible to see hardships and challenges are part of God's kingdom coming. When first-century churches were budding, Paul faced all kinds of calamities: anything and everything from imprisonment and stonings, to being shipwrecked and stranded on an island (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).
Why did Paul and the apostles continue to spread God's truth joyfully despite being mocked, hated, and called "imposters?” Why have men, women, and families endured the pain of displaying God's glory for centuries? Is it really worth the trouble for any family to move overseas or stand firm in Christ alone despite the depravity of our culture?
The answer is an astounding "YES!"
How does the Bible guide and encourage this decision?
Here are five enduring truths that are anchoring our family to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we prepare to serve the nations.
- Abiding in Word and Truth. “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes (Jer. 17:7-8)”. The Lord's Word will sustain and refresh our family daily as we are planted firmly, abiding in Him no matter where He has called us, no matter the circumstances.
- Purchased Servant. I was bought and purchased with a price by the blood of Christ (1 Corinth. 7:23, Eph. 1:7). There is no greater honor and delight than to follow Christ in joyful obedience. He is my master. I am his servant (2 Corinth. 6:4).
- Ambassadors of Christ. We boast only in Christ. We've been reconciled by His blood. The love of Christ compels us. What do these truths do to a regenerated human heart? They transform every square inch of it. Why? So that we may no longer live for ourselves as we once did, but for Christ who died for us. We've been given new hearts of flesh and are ambassadors filled with gratitude, making the appeal of Christ (2 Corinth. 5, Rom. 12:2).
- A Shutter Snap. We know life is only but a mist (James 4:14), a shutter snap. There is no greater honor than proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in the days the Lord has given us. Our days are numbered. We must make them count.
- Momentary Affliction. Challenges. Heartache. Loss. These are painful realities no matter where the Lord has His people. Some hurts come at varying degrees and intensities. But amid discomfort and affliction, we strengthen our gaze upon our Lord. We gaze at his majesty, looking at his eternality, and declare, "from him and through him and to him are all things" (2 Corinth. 4:17-18, Rom. 11:36).
No matter my family's location, the Lord will hold me accountable for how I loved, protected, and pointed my wife and kids to Jesus Christ as our King and Savior. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children". We are eager to impress the commands of the Lord on our children's hearts, including the greatest task given to the Church, the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20). I cannot think of a better way to display the glory of God to our kids than showing them that we are willing to move ourselves to another part of the world to help make Christ known where He is not known. They will see their parents’ obedience and willingness to go to a place where there is little to no access for people to come to know Him in order that they may know Him.
I’m hopeful our kids will not only know the love of Christ through God's Word, but I pray they will see their Dad and Mom as two ordinary individuals who have nothing to boast about other than the sufficiency and power of Jesus Christ. Will there be hardships, loss, and pain? Probably, but the powerful truth of Romans 8 will be present to guide us. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress? No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:35, 37, 39).
As aliens of the land we walk, we are not gripped by fear of what might come, nor is our Lord. Instead, we are gripped by the eternal truth and sustainment of Jesus Christ. He has sustained us today in His grace and mercy. He will sustain us no matter His calling on our lives.
- Abiding: Moving From Simple Belief To Walking In Communion With Christ