You know, I have heard it said many, many times that Jesus Christ knows our struggles and He can understand and identify with things we are going through, for God’s Word says in Hebrews 4:15 “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” His Word says that there is no difficulty or trial or temptation that we can go through in this life that He was not faced with in similar fashion. He also knows that we, unlike Him, are fallen creatures. He was without sin because He is God – He “knew” no sin! He was the “I Am” that spoke to Moses through the burning bush, and He is the “I Am” that He claimed to be when he spoke to the Jews and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” in John 8:58. The Word says, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” And in Philippians 2:5-8, the Word states, “Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it something to be held as equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Wow. Today God has been speaking so much to me about this very thing….sacrifice. I know God is speaking to me about this because I spent most of the night last night speaking to HIM about it! You see, Tony and I both have been becoming very weary under the burden of the calling He has given us. This is not to say we have second guessed the call and the decision we made to surrender everything we knew as normal to become full time missionaries in Haiti. It just means that there have been times when we have found ourselves simply very tired and crying out to God for relief. Last night, as I cried out to Him for strength to continue on, He began speaking to me as my Father often does, saying, “My daughter, I love you, and I know how you feel.”
It’s been a remarkable, yet at the same time, difficult six months for our family. We have experienced what it means to sacrifice in many ways. However, at the same time I have to ask myself, have we really? It certainly and often feels like we have! When we think back on what our hopes and dreams were years ago when we signed papers on a piece of land and began looking at house plans with dreams of building our own home there, our vision for the future did not include giving up everything and being divided between the US and Haiti. We did see our dream come true, and we lived in the house we built for twelve years, watching our children grow up and enjoying many, many fun times with them and their friends. Actually, when we look back, we realize that we have been blessed in so many ways. God has given us two amazing and talented boys who have been a constant source of joy. He has allowed us to travel all over the world whether through sports events, family vacations, or mission trips. He has given us gifts and prepared us for this time in our lives in such a way that we recognize that we are perfectly designed for such a time as this. In our weariness, it so easy to focus on the sacrifice and sometimes feel exasperated. However, just about the time we both feel exhausted under the weight of our current circumstances, Jesus reminds us of His sacrifice.
Think about it. Jesus left the glory of Heaven to become not just a part of humanity, but a sacrifice for the sins of those He came to serve. He gave up everything for us, and we questioned Him, rejected Him, and ultimately sent Him to His death. It was all part of a plan that He knew had to take place, and He willingly gave Himself. In one of His most human moments throughout the time He spent here, he cried out to God, when Matthew 26:39 describes that “He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Because of His love for us, He willingly went along with the plan. He knew that in order for us to be reconciled to God, He had to give Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Was this easy for Him? NO! Was it necessary? Yes.
So when I compare our sacrifice to His, I come to realize that ours is small, yet He doesn’t see it as such because He comforts us when we cry out to Him! He says, “I know how you feel,” and He does!! He left His home and His father. He went to a place where life was very different and difficult. He experienced what it felt like to give up everything and serve with no real home to call His own or income other than what God provided through those He chose to use to bless and provide for Him. He sacrificed it all only to be unappreciated and taken for granted by those for whom he gave it all. He knows how it feels to be separated from His home and the comfort and glory of Heaven to go to a place of anger and filth and despair. Yet He looked around at the people He came to serve, and He felt nothing but Love. THAT is the key!
We turn to Him and we ask Him to let us focus on His love for us so that we can in turn love on those we now serve THROUGH Him. Just as Jesus had precious moments with those who truly loved Him and followed Him, we too have many, many precious moments with others who He uses to bless us – from precious Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ, to serving brothers and sisters on mission teams, to attentive brothers and sisters here in the US, God uses so many others to bless us in unimaginable ways. We turn our focus to Christ and His sacrifice, then we lift our eyes in praise to our loving Father who truly does know how we feel, and we are comforted and refreshed.
I am so thankful for a Father who loves us unconditionally and has a plan beyond our ability to comprehend. It is a good plan, and we trust Him. We are experiencing His grace and provision unlike anything we could ever have imagined. We are blessed to be used by Him daily, and we serve Him with GLADNESS!! Most of all, I am thankful that He loves us enough to comfort us. He is Good ALL THE TIME.