Another gem from my hubby
There’s no place like home for the holidays. That phrase has been heard and sung countless times, but it always rings true.
For me it has always been a halfway thought, because we have always been home or with family on Christmas. Today I realized how much I take that for granted.
I met J last year, he came to MABTS (Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary) for pastoral training all the way from India. J has had an extremely fruitful ministry in India but felt God calling him to MABTS for further ministry training and preparation for future ministry. He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met, soft spoken, humble, and always greets you with a smile. J left everything behind when he came to Mid America.
Since he has been here it has been clear how much he misses his family. He never hesitates to mention his children for prayer requests and always lights up when he speaks about his family.
About a month ago, J lost his father. Right in the middle of the school semester, J was unable to fly home for the funeral. I had not been able to talk to J about it much until today. I saw J leaving the library and we were taking about the thousands (or what feels like thousands) of pages we still had to write before the end of the semester. J asked me about Christmas shopping, and we talked about presents and what not for a while. Then I asked J if he was going home for Christmas. He looked sad as he answered yes, saying that he was going home. But for J this trip is not about presents and smiles. J looked at me and said he was going to visit his father’s grave, to poor out his grief over his tomb. He went on to say that being here while losing his father was the hardest thing he has ever faced, being alone with no family to cling to, no one to share in grief. As J spoke these words my heart melted. How could someone withstand the agony of such loss and be so far away. I could not imagine facing what J was describing to me. My mind raced with what to say next, searching for some way to even begin to comfort him, but as I looked back at J I saw hope in his eyes. He looked at me and simply said, “but God is good.”
Just a few words but so so profound. I was struck with the hard truth that so many of us live such comfortable lives never even wondering what true suffering is. J has left his home, his family, his friends all for the sake of the Gospel. He has turned his back to the things the so many of us take for granted in following the ministry to which he has been called. What J said to me was such a simple yet profound reminder that Jesus is worth it all. Everything that we have, everything that we think that we need, it all pales in comparison to the home that J is looking towards. I am reminded that Christ called us to suffer, that we never truly follow Him until we stop following ourselves. I hope J reminds you today that the Christmas message is such a huge part of what we believe, but to take time to remember the cross. Remember that Christ gave up his life so that we might become righteous, that we might know Him.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
Be grateful for what you have, whether it is time with family or just food on the table. But don’t let life’s comforts drive you, be led by where God is calling you. Be encouraged that we know and love and serve a mighty God, who has our best in mind. Remember that we are called to live by faith. There are those that look to the cross as foolishness, as simply a myth. But in what some call foolish, I will boast. Boast in His resurrection, in His life, in His sufferings. The cost of following Christ, is a cost worth paying.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”