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  • Pippa Botha

Obedience may hurt



Today I have been wondering what degree of sacrifice would disqualify me from obedience to God. Does God demand obedience disrespective of heart wrenching sacrifice?

I have been very verbal in the past about what I reckoned God wouldn't and couldn't require of His children. I couldn't fathom how, in the olden days, parents would leave their young ones and go to other countries as missionaries, knowing that they would not be home for years or even at all! Could that be God? Could God separate families? Or would God ask a family to serve Him knowing that the ministry would be a place where the children would be vulnerable to hurt?

When we were called to the Ukraine as missionaries, we didn't know that our oldest son would cry in longing for his friends in South Africa. We didn't realize what the deep impact always being an outsider looking in, would have on his young heart. We just heard the call and stepped out in faith. Were we wrong?

The Christians who were sent to their death in the arenas of Rome, or today in countries like North Korea and Afghanistan, where adults as well as their children are martyred… are they wrong because they don't do all they can, even denying Jesus, to protect their young ones?

As a mother, these thoughts haunt me. My instinct to protect my children screams in my ears. And then I hear my Christ, "Do you not know that I can heal the hurts of any child in an instant? Do you not trust Me to use every experience (good and bad) to reveal Myself to you and your beloved? I am greater than any evil. I came to overcome the world and the hurt of the world. Nothing can destroy you or your children when you keep your eyes on Me. Your bodies may die but you will live forever".

I believe that Jesus, who calls us, will heal our every hurt and reward our every sacrifice of obedience. I believe the hurt of our children will, in Jesus' hands, be used to form and mold them (and us) into people who are surrendered and usable in His kingdom. I believe the safest place on earth is in Him, obeying Him. I believe where He leads, He will never leave us, that His arms are held out to embrace us and comfort us and wipe away every tear from our eyes. I believe He is good even when the world is bad and His goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.

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