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As Christina and I are preparing the family, the team and the church for the transition that is coming up in July, we started to talk about what it would be like if we stayed longer in Indonesia – like 5 years or even 10 years longer.
This sparked a good discussion.
I shared from my perspective that if we stayed longer in Indonesia, our relationships with people would be stronger and deeper. We would be able to see a greater impact. I also shared how we would be able to reach more people with the Gospel and see more open doors to engage the society.
In the midst of this discussion Christina said, “Then why did we only commit for one year?” For some reason this caught me off guard.
My only response to her question dealt with the issue with the kids. Then I asked, “When we were trying to decide whether to come to Indonesia or not, could you really have committed to a longer period of time, in light of the kids?”
Her response floored me.
She simply said, “Yes.”
Then, I pressed Christina and told her that I thought the major issue for her was with the children.
She responded by saying, “If we prayed and believed that God wanted us to commit longer than one year, then I would have been ok with it because I trust you and I would have followed you.”
Wow! After trying to contain my inflated ego, I sat there speechless.
It is true how hindsight has a way of helping us seeing things more clearly in the present. If I knew what I know now, I wonder how things might have been different.
Not only was I encouraged by her response, but I thought about my role as a husband, a father and a pastor. There were 3 things that came to my mind:
2) The responsibility is great when people are counting on you. It is always easier to take responsibility for one person – yourself. But when you know that there are people counting on you, it puts a greater sense of responsibility. It causes you to pause more and pray more. We often forget how our decisions have consequences and affect people close to us. There is no neutrality – either it will have a positive or negative impact.
3) God’s will is better understood when we look at things backwards. When it comes to doing God’s will, don’t you wish that we can always see how things will turn out first and then make a decision. In this way, we will never miss out on things and we can avoid a lot of heartaches and headaches. But then again, it would take out the fun of trusting in God throughout the journey. Life that is so planned and predictable is not the kind of life that God desires for us. The life that God wants us to live is a life of trust and faith. God is always more glorified this way.
The idea of making decisions by knowing what we know now is a double-edged sword. On one hand, we need to go through things without fully knowing everything in order to grow in faith and trust; but then, as we begin to comprehend things now, there is a greater responsibility to obey God’s will on the decisions for the future.
This whole discussion with Christina has been a challenge for me in the area of faith, trust, and obedience. It is my prayer that with what I know now that I will be able to make decisions in the future that will maximize God’s honor and glory.