My Chinese friend had just arrived back in China after her first trip to America, her first experience in a Western country. She came to my home for a visit, as she had done many times before. But there was something different about this time, as if she looked at me and my home with a whole new perspective.
In the middle of telling me all about her travels, she paused, looked at me for a moment, and then she said it.
“You sacrifice a lot to come here for us.”
Her words caught me off guard. I swallowed hard, blinking at the sudden wetness in my eyes.
I stammered to find a response. Part of me felt I should brush off her praise. What we do? It’s no big deal.
But to say that would deny the fact that her words felt like a balm. Someone that I came here for acknowledged the price I pay to come. I don’t know why I needed to hear those words, but I did.
It’s true. I do sacrifice to come here, and not always willingly. While I’ve grown to love the life we have here, there are days when I bemoan the sacrifices. I grumble at the tiles falling off the bathroom walls, the tiny kitchen that feels three sizes too small, the freedom of a backyard my kids have never known. I positively ache when my toddler tries to hug his grandparents through a computer screen. I thought these sacrifices were supposed to get easier, not harder.
My friend’s words were a balm to the bit of grief that’s always there.
“Thank you,” I finally whispered to her.
In that moment, a realization sparked in me. I can belittle the sacrifices I make, I can bemoan them, or I can bring them as an offering.
An offering to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice. A sacrifice he struggled to make. A sacrifice he prayed he wouldn’t have to make. But he did. In surrender he sacrificed for the glory of the One who sent him and for the love of those he came for.
My friend didn’t fully understand until she knew the place from which I came.
I think it’s only when we walk through those pearly gates into the perfection of a sinless, tear-free, glory-filled world that we will actually know. We will stand before the throne gasping in awe at the Father-Son’s divine trinity love, and we will say for the first time, with understanding,
“You sacrificed a lot to come for us.”
Join me in raising an offering this Good Friday? Let’s pour out our hearts, our words, our art on the prompt “Sacrifice.” He doesn’t need fancy, remember? He wants heartfelt and real.
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