Too Soon Yet Not Soon Enough

July 22, 2018

"A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 'If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.'" (Luke 14:16-27)

I read this verse aloud as a nineteen year old at the request of a mentor, who told me that Jesus wanted everything from me—all my dreams and desires and goals, all my attention, all my heart. I broke down in a hard cry, as I realized exactly everything I had to give up to follow Jesus. It is no unique calling that has brought Laura and me to the point we are at today. It is simply obedience to the all-out surrender that Jesus demands of all his disciples. Yet that obedience is something we often fail at and have to constantly work on, as we uncover more and more aspects of our lives that ultimately belong to Christ. Jesus requires it all, and when we are obedient enough to lay down that which is closest to our hearts, we find contentment in his promise that he will be with us always.

Following Jesus to an unreached people group is a life of confliction, so to speak, as our hearts are torn between the temporal and eternal. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I have recurrent thoughts of what I might have done in another life. I think about what it would be like to carry out life close to home, close to family, close to comforts. However, I'm conflicted as I fix my mind on the truth that none of that will hold up to the closeness I can have with my Heavenly Father if I choose to obey. We deal with the conflict of wanting more time at home before we leave for PNG, while also longing to be in PNG so we can finally take the gospel to a people who have been in spiritual darkness for thousands of years. We face these inward clashes regularly. But although our flesh is very weak, I have found that sacrifice begets gratitude and a further willingness to sacrifice. With every step, God's faithfulness keeps us moving in obedience.

For now, we wrap up our summer break so we can get back to our linguistic training. Pray for us to be mindful of the future, as we sit mentally exhausted in class from spending forty hours each week working through very complex language issues. Pray for us to remember the value of this training in regards to one day communicating the gospel in the clearest way possible. This break has been painfully short, and it puts us one step closer to boarding that plane in January 2020 (fingers crossed).

It's just too soon, yet it can't come soon enough.


My sister took this photo as we were on the Appalachian Trail a few weeks ago. I love the Appalachian Trail for its beautiful parallels to the Christian life:

It's uncommon for the trail to not be strenuous.

It's hard to tell where exactly it's headed.

Sometimes, you think you're close to the top, yet you're not even halfway there.

Sometimes the mountain tops aren't as memorable as you expect them to be, yet they're often what keep you motivated to keep going.

But usually, it's in the valleys where you find the water to sustain you.