Saturday, March 5, 2011

Counting the Cost

Often when the topic of overseas missions comes up, it is met with very opinionated responses. Usually the first is "I could never do that" and then the rest follow the same suit. It is something that has been running around in my head alot lately though because "counting the cost" for each of us could be quite enlightening as to where our hearts are. Recently I was telling my mom that I am glad that "stuff" isn't something my heart is attached to. I live in a teeny tiny apartment and although I love some retail therapy every now and then, I really don't want more than what I've already got. BUT leave it up to the Lord to show me the areas in my life that I DO hold very dear...pesky part of being a Christian that doesn't let you get comfortable! Anyway, Not more than a few days after patting myself on the back for not being a lover of stuff my daughter came down with a TERRIBLE illness. It started with congestion and a cough and by the middle of the night she literally could not breathe. I have never seen anything so scary in my whole life. While my husband rushed her out into the cold night air to open up her airways, I called the er to get advice on whether or not to bring her in. The pediatric nurse thought it sounded like croup and walked me through how to handle it at home and then bring her in if her condition worsened within the hour. She did improve that night, but I took her the next day and her Dr found a double ear infection and upper respiratory infection. Later that week I began having some strange symptoms and went to my ob to make sure baby and I are healthy (which praise God we are). My point is this. The excellent medical care we receive here in the US and the availability of Dr's and nurses both by appointments and phone is NOT enjoyed by most countries. My sister and her family moved to Thailand two years ago to minister to and bring the gospel of Jesus by way of international teaching. Counting the cost for them has meant a complete life change felt most dramatically when my sister got pregnant and delivered there just last month. NOTHING was the same as it is here in the US. Although she and baby girl are doing beautifully, it was not exactly due to the excellence they received from medical staffing. Out dated techniques, poor linguistics, and vast cultural differences led to my sister often calling my mom and me to ask Dr's here what they would advise. This my friends is a BIG cost to count when doing something for God and I know that their obedience to go where He led them in spite of it brings much joy to Him. It has been an eye opening challenge to me to look for the things in my daily life that I see as normal and come to expect or even complain about. And let me challenge you to ask God to open your eyes to these things so that you can greet them with gratitude rather than expectation. Counting the cost refers most directly to leaving something behind for the sake of Christ, but let's also use it to find new ways to be thankful and then pray for those who have given it up. And for what it's worth...I am REALLY proud of my sister. :)