Okay, I admit it: love stories make me cry. The other day as I was reading our history lesson over Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s tragic end, my daughter patted my arm and went to fetch me a kleenex. Then I happened upon the trailer for a new movie rendition of the Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina, and I began to consider what the world values as a great love story. In these two examples, at least, the answer is made up of intensity of emotion being held as a virtue to the exclusion of wisdom, demanding immediate access to privileges that haven’t been earned, and the forsaking of holy covenants and duty for the pleasure of an unsustainable present without regard for the crumbling future. In view of the way they turn out (one in history, the other in fiction), isn’t it odd that they are lauded as some of the greatest love stories of all time? I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but “happily ever after” they were not. This “love” wreaked havoc on everyone around it, destroying lives literally and figuratively.
The Lord’s calling for our family to serve in the nations is a much different kind of love story. Bit by bit we are releasing the things that our flesh wants to cling to, to take hold of the future that the Lord has for us. Some of it is easy. Craigslist can have those golf clubs I haven’t used for 10 years. But the cozy bed I climb into at night feels so real, I can’t always grasp that the day is coming when we will say goodbye. Life goes on as normal. We do school lessons, grocery shop, cook meals, wave goodbye to Matt as he leaves for work, and mob him when he comes home. But underneath all that is a revolution building. My heart tentatively touches concepts that feel raw and strange–living on faith support, speaking Spanish, different government and healthcare systems–to see if they are becoming less uncomfortable as the days pass.
Some moments I stand surprised and awed at the ways Lord is establishing this work He is doing. Prayers covering over us, divine connections made, love unlooked-for freely given, new inspiration for loving on short-term mission teams and at-risk children. I shouldn’t be surprised that God is able, but I am. He really is good. In the face of change that is so big I can’t conceive of it all, I remember again that He’s bigger. This call is stripping me of all the little veils covering my eyes about my own faith. I am humbled and yet thankful to understand how shaky I am and let the Lord lead me to higher ground.
Instead of living for the moment and leaving the future to itself, the Lord has us planting our present comforts in the field of His hands. We are trusting that He will use it to bring forth a future harvest. Team members inspired to live all out for the Lord. At-risk children loved, fed, and healed into the kingdom of God. Laughter and life-giving relationship with Costa Ricans. Growing faith that expects the Lord to do what He has promised. When this love story concludes, we pray it will be filled with lives blessed and hearts lifted by His strength, His love, and His glory. Kleenex optional.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13