Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Safe? What is Safe?

A few weeks ago, after undergoing several days of gun fighting all around us in our home in South Sudan, I came out to Kenya and the first few days felt an immeasurable amount of guilt for allowing my children to be in a situation where they had to endure something scary and heart wrenching like that. But after God doing a slow work in my heart and thanks to a dear teammate who I respect in a huge way sharing this insight, I am coming around and actually coming to the place of feeling grateful that our family gets to be where we are and endure and see and hear what we do. It's not easy. It's heart breaking to the point where you feel like you can't take it anymore. And yet it's the brokenness and evil and suffering that God sent His son Jesus to this earth to redeem and provide salvation from.

Somehow so many of us value comfort and security/safety as things we should strive for and make as goals for our families. But is that biblical? Did Jesus tell His disciples to only go to the safe places and never put themselves in danger? He told them to count the cost, to lay down their lives and to follow Him. Was Jesus' way easy? No, Jesus' way ended with blood, torture, injustice, incredible pain and ultimately death. Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." Matt 16:25

This is definitely a lot to chew on. I have chewed on this for several years, ever since about 2013 when I realized that living in South Sudan was going to mean dying to self again and again, losing everything, seeing incredible suffering, and never knowing if it was even all worth it. And God keeps bringing us back. He keeps telling us He's not done with us in South Sudan. He keeps giving grace and strength to persevere and press on. He's given us resilient children who share our mission and love for our South Sudanese brothers and sisters. And He's given us an incredible "cloud of witnesses" who pray and encourage and support us and have for the last 10 years!

This morning I was out jogging and a song called "Safe" by Britt Nicole came on. I was so compelled by the words that I didn't realize I actually broke into a sprint! I will admit that I thought the words were slightly different than they are. Below are the real lyrics and then I'm going to take the liberty of switching them to what I want them to say.

Everything you want, but it's everything you need
It's not always happy endings
But it's all the in-between
It's taken so long, so long to finally see
That your love is worth the risk

What I thought the words were saying was and what my heart was screaming in agreement as I sprinted up my neighborhood hill was:

Life's not everything you want, but it's everything you need
It's not always happy endings but its at the end that's sweet.
It's taken so long, so long to finally see
that life is worth the risk.

And this is what resonated with me this morning: 
1. Life isn't always what I expect or want it to be but it's all part of what I need to cling to Christ and know Him more.
2. In the end we will look back and see the sweetness in the sacrifice.
3. Living for Jesus is worth the risk.

The Britt Nicole song ends with: "You're not safe. And that's okay."

We're not safe in South Sudan. And that's OK. It's OK because Jesus didn't call our family to live in a happy, safe bubble (which no one can live in by the way.) He called us to lay down our lives and follow Him.