"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
Mark 10:29-30 NIV.
One of the things that anyone on mission who goes overseas must also count the cost of is this - its not just where you go but what you leave behind. Lately as events have made things tough for us here in Russia, never has the words of Jesus from Mark 10 sounded truer.
Maybe its technology as well. I've tended to allow our computer to randomly display our photo's when we're not using it, which has meant lots of images coming up that bring strong emotions and good memories.
One of the things that I knew I'd miss most about living in a flat in Russia compared to a house in England is the lack of a garden. So having seen photo's of the garden I built myself from nothing it kept reminding me of the above verse. My response is simple therefore - Lord, we've given this up for you. Thank you for already promising us much blessing to come.
Having left my brother, sister, mother, father (add to this lots of friends), home, garden (ie field!) - we did bring our child with us but by coming we have only had one child. If we'd carried on living in the UK I'm sure there would have been more children. As it is we may adopt a Russian child at some point (not sure if it'll be a hundred though?!) But are these things so precious as to be worth holding onto at the expense of serving God as he has asked? Clearly not but sadly, I would guess, to often the case. But for us it wasn't praise God, but all to easily it could have been.
Why was it different?
I believe that God started a big chunk of the work back when I moved from London to Manchester. I had a career, my family, my world: all down in Kent. But God had said to go so I obeyed. And life has worked out very well. Therefore when the call came second time round, though tough (don't think I'm saying we had a walk in the park) it wasn't the first time we'd made such a step and therefore we knew we could trust God.
So my advice on this regards - Learn to listen to God. Obey Him and He will lead you onto all that He has for you. There are no BIG steps with our walk with God - just lots and lots (& lots & lots..) of little steps all along the way. Remember this and you'll see God working powerfully in your life.
It might be only in heaven that I get to plant seeds and to grow a garden again. I do not know. I do not hold these things to closely though - trusting always that God has a better plan for me. Somehow I kind of know that I'll have a garden again one day soon.......a big one at that!
Thanks for reading.