Even as I look at the picture, the truth of it hits. We’re all standing right next to one another, and yet several of us are in completely different states. The picture we took just as a goofy moment of awesomeness while we drove to speak at a church in Kansas becomes symbolic of the possibilities we’re raising.
To put it simply: If we raise our children within a family that says “Where God says, we’ll go.”, they might actually become adults who do the same.
We talk about this often when we travel to speak at churches. When it was just me, following what I perceived to be a path God was pleased with, it was fairly easy. When Sarah and I married, following God’s heart became a bit more tangled. Together, we’ve had moments of acknowledging the tug of God and wrestled with what to do next. There were challenges, for sure, but we look back with gratitude on all God has brought us through. Now we have 4 daughters, and even seemingly small choices seem to ripple with impact through our home in ways we might never have imagined.
In the midst of it all, we regularly talk about the things Jesus invites us to shape our lives around. To Love those who can be difficult to love. To sacrifice for the sake of revealing the sacrificial Love of God for others. To yield and be humble in a world that grabs and brags. To live as if the Kingdom of God matters more than any national identity, and as if the entire cosmos is the most important location of God’s Loving presence (even though we all know the sand dunes of Michigan are where He most often meets with folks).
What if? What if our kids actually grow up to live this way? What if being raised with a global faith means they find it completely normal to live on the other side of the planet from mom and dad…as long as it’s where Jesus is excited to have them Loving in His Name? What if they find themselves suffering for the sake of the gospel? Not in the usual “aw man, I won’t be the popular kid who has the _____” way, but in actual suffering?
Then we realize only a sliver of the Father’s Love for us. Yes. It’s still very much worth it. In fact…could you imagine the danger of the opposite? The danger of our children thinking success was defined by performance, financial or professional gain? The danger of our children feeling unable to love their neighbor because they might not share _____ in common? The danger of the wide gate is one scripture warned – many will find. (Matthew 7)
Wherever they end up…I pray that our feet will all be caught up in carrying the good news into the world – (Romans 10:15) whatever form that takes.