Have you ever thought about what it’s like to wrestle with God? After all, in Genesis 32:24-32, Jacob had a wrestling match with God just prior to reuniting with his brother, Esau. It could happen to any of us, too. And right now, that’s exactly what I feel like is happening in my heart.
It’s as if I have to choose between a good thing and something better. The wrestling part comes in when deciding which decision belongs in which category. I value both deeply and have to decide which treasure carries greater weight in my heart. One has to do with self-sacrifice. One has to do with self-preservation and gain. One has to do with those dearest to me, the other with complete strangers. One revolves around the familiar, the other around the unknown.
What is this decision weighing so heavily on me? It’s that of missions. My husband has felt God calling him to the mission field, probably that of the foreign variety, specifically to unreached people groups…likely for the long term. The trouble is that I haven’t felt that strong tug toward foreign missions like he has.
We would probably have to leave everything familiar, with limited visits back. It would probably require doing a little more schooling and learning a new language(s), facing loneliness (even if only for a short time), missing being present for our extended families’ major events, our nieces and nephews possibly not knowing us or our children very well, our parents missing out on their grandchildren growing up and our kids possibly not knowing their grandparents as closely, and our siblings not knowing their nieces and nephew well. It might mean learning to home school my kids and working out our day-to-day lives in close proximity to each other (I can only imagine our stress sometimes). It would mean complete dependence on God’s provision for our finances (something we should already be doing…but might not be very good at doing). It would probably mean a “downgrade” in our comfortable, American way of living.
On the flip side, going means that those who haven’t heard the name of Jesus would finally have heard the good news that impacts their eternity. It would be an adventure of a lifetime…and I do love adventures! I and my family would be able to witness changed hearts and point the way to Jesus to who knows how many people! We would be able to teach others what we have personally learned through God’s Word and through our experiences walking with and wrestling with Him. We could love the unloved, serve the needy, and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Such a mission would give us such great, fulfilling purpose!
The eternity of others should matter more than my personal wants. But I can’t yet come to grips with the notion of leaving those I love behind. If I could bring them all along I’d be on board in a heartbeat…but that isn’t reality. I love them all so deep and so hard! I get emotional at the distance between us where we currently are that I have a difficult time thinking of it being broader. Scripture tells us that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) So does this mean I treasure my extended family and my comforts more than the eternal state of the souls of others simply because I can’t bring myself to say yes I’ll go? Possibly.
I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I want to be a help-meet to my husband and be on the same page with him, wholeheartedly following after him and serving with him. Yet I want to be here, in my homeland, when our parents get to the point where they need care regularly. I witnessed first-hand the joy, hardship, and blessing that comes with caring for the aged full-time as my parents cared for both sets of my grandparents. I want to be that for our parents. Both are great and wonderful things. How can I choose between them? These years are precious to me for so many different reasons.
And then I began to contemplate a decade from now when our children are grown and would possibly move stateside and start families of their own. Would I have to miss that too? My heart breaks in a million different pieces. I do not want to miss any of those moments. God tells us not to worry so often in Scripture, and every tough situation He has walked me through has always resulted in His taking care of circumstances just right. There is nothing saying we’d have to miss these things a decade (or whenever) from now. It’s just my constant, fruitless worrying over things that may or may not happen.
So how do I decide? I’m not sure. I’m not at that point yet. God and I are still wrestling and working this thing out. I don’t know how long our match will last. I do know that He is patient, kind, and good. I know he is just and would not ask something of me if He would not provide for the needs of my heart. I know He will guide me as I look to Him for wisdom and guidance.