It’s been an emotional day today. A mixture of excitement for the future while at the same time loss and grief for what that future implies. Twenty-five years ago, we were on the same path. Twenty-five years ago, we said good-bye to family and friends and took our little two month old baby boy to live far, far away from his grandparents in a foreign land.
We were following the call and adventure awaited us. We were excited to bring the message of God’s saving grace through Jesus to people of a different culture, and we were ready to face the cost. Yes indeed there has been a cost to following that call, but it has been worth it. What I don’t think I ever understood until now, is what it cost for those left behind. What did it cost our parents who only saw us every couple of years? How did they feel only hearing about their grandson’s milestones through letters and photos? I am beginning to understand how they felt.
Today, I am experiencing the cost from the other end. We raised our son to follow Jesus, and God has put a special call on his heart. God is calling him and his wife to a land even further away than where we went, to bring the message of His saving grace through Jesus to an unreached people group. Their adventure is just beginning.
As my son and daughter-in-law waited at the airport for their first flight on a week-long exploratory trip into foreign territory, we messaged each other. “Love you lots.” “…Bazillions.” “Ok signing off. Love you.” “Love you all the way there and back.” That was the last message my husband sent before their transatlantic flight. With the luxury of Internet that our parents didn’t have, I pulled up their flight on Flightview to watch the progress until I went to bed. I awoke a couple of times in the night to keep them in prayer. In the morning I hurriedly picked up my phone to see if there was a message like, “made it safe so far,” but there was none.
Then it hit me. This is the beginning of the future. This is what our parents went through. It is a time when you are so proud of what your kids turned out to be and so excited that they are going places and sharing The Message where you would never dare to go. And yet it is also a time of loss and grief knowing that they will be living in a far, faraway place, and we will only see them every few years. And there may be many more times of silence without Internet connection. The cost of the call continues, but this time, I am on the other side of things as I watch two young adventurers be obedient to following God to hard places.
My son is living out what we raised him to do, and I couldn’t be more excited. Yet I am already grieving the loss of living so far away from my yet unborn grandchildren and relying on Skype and WhatsApp to keep us in communication. I am allowing myself to feel and express this mixture of emotions because I know that God created us as emotional beings and He understands. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
I wonder how God the Father felt when He sent His son to a far, faraway land to carry His message of saving grace to a broken and lost people. Did He feel excitement knowing that this was the path that would reconcile us to Himself? Did He feel loss and grief as He watched His only son suffer so much to pay the cost for our wrongdoings? In spite of this, the Father let go. He allowed His Son to go to this far, faraway land because He loved us so much.
It is time that I let go too and give my son back to the Creator who gave him to me twenty-five years ago. It will be worth the cost when one day, I am in Glory and I meet many others there who said “yes” to God’s message of saving grace through Jesus brought to them by my son and daughter-in-law. Hallelujah.
What has the cost of your calling meant to those you have left behind?
Even though we have all paid a price to live this cross-cultural life, what have you experienced that reminds you that it has been worth the cost?