My little brother is a missionary to Australia. He leaves in two days for a two year assignment. Of course this would hit anyone hard, but it has been especially hard for me because my husband and I are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first child in December, a matter of weeks after my brother departs for his mission. Our child will be a year old before my brother will have the funding to be able to return home for a visit.
When I first found out that my brother would miss not only the arrival of our first child, but the entire first year of his or her life, I wanted to cry. God, why does he have to leave in September? Can’t you make it so his funding doesn’t come in until after the baby is due in December?? I can’t believe he won’t get to see or hold our baby for more than a year.
Sure, we can send pictures. Of course we can video chat over Skype. But it’s just not the same.
Days after the initial shock of his pending departure has set in, I am reminded of what Jesus said it would cost to be His disciple:
Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
Luke 14:33, “So, likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
At first glance these verses can seem kind of harsh and a bit extreme. But as I ponder what Jesus was getting at here, I am comforted that what my brother has chosen is better. Jesus is telling us that in order to be His disciple, we must be willing to surrender every aspect of our life to Him, and allow Him to do with that given life what He determines is best. He is telling us that we must love Him so much that our love for and devotion to anyone or anything else looks like hatred in comparison. He is telling us that we must not hold anything back from Him if we desire to walk with Him, to know Him intimately, and to be used by Him in the fullest way.
My brother made a decision to give all that he has and all that he is to Jesus. In offering himself to the Lord, he was directed to leave his family, leave his friends, and leave all that he has ever known to follow Him to Australia. Though my heart aches at the thought of not seeing my brother for over a year and not getting to share the joys of my child’s first year of life with him in person, my response to Jesus must be the same as my brother’s. I must love Jesus and desire His will more than my own, even if it means being away from someone I love for a long time. I must be willing to give up something I want (precious moments of seeing my brother cuddle with my newborn baby), and trust that the Lord is still good and His will is still perfect.
Today I can say that I have counted the cost of being His disciple, and, yet again, He is absolutely worth it.