In my last post I talked about how I have grieved since I’ve been on the mission field. I grieve the loss of lots of different things in my life, but mostly I grieve the loss of the idols of my heart. The idols of safety and security, materialism and greed, comfort…I could go on and on. The idolotry of focusing on the sacrifice and not the blessing,” the mess and not the miracle” (I totally stole that quote from somebody) sometimes can almost consume me.
There’s so much beauty in the sacrifice. But it is still A Sacrifice.
Sanctification hurts. Dying to self hurts. Being a living sacrifice hurts. And I’m going to tell you I climb off of that altar Every. Single. Day and I grieve the loss when I lay my idols down.
But I don’t grieve as one without hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13)
It’s not just for missionaries or the military or pastors and evangelists. It’s for every single person purchased by the blood of the Lamb.
The grief is ours, but the hope is ours too.
After my last post, I had a dear friend send me a message saying that she was happy to hear that it wasn’t easy for me. It wasn’t because she was happy to see me struggle, but because she just didn’t understand why it was so hard for her when she wasn’t even living on the mission field. And she thought it was easy for us. You know, us “spiritual folk”…
And it made her feel…normal.
Nope, DYING to yourself isn’t going to be sunshine and roses. I would dare say that if you aren’t feeling the pain of taking up your cross DAILY then there just might be something wrong…
Because death just shouldn’t feel good.
Some days I struggle to lay my life down again because I keep crawling right off of that altar. And I’m not doing anybody any favors by pretending like that isn’t the ugly truth. Those idols are near and dear to my heart and to unclench my tight fists takes a miracle from the Holy Spirit.
A straight miracle.
And sometimes I grieve the loss.
But do you know what all of that does for me? It makes me run to Him.
Sometimes I even run to Him with idols tightly in my hands.
Because His burden is light, y’all. (You can take the girl out of Mississippi, but…)
Because….And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Because the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Because the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
Because the Father is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch you out of the Father’s hand.
Because His love reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies.
And because whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Because He covers you with his feathers, and under his wings you find refuge.
Because His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.
And you can say “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Say it. Say it out loud with hope.
He began the work. He will complete it. He doesn’t use us because we’re somehow “worthy”. No, He uses us in spite of ourselves.
Its okay to grieve the loss, but grieve with hope that only comes from the One who can trade beauty for ashes.
Because He is faithful.