This family adventure has taught me many unexpected things. If you had approached me six months ago and informed me that I did not have a trust based relationship with God, I would have thought you insane. I can now see that I did not trust God, I trusted in stuff. Here is a quick list of the stuff I trusted in:
– Savings account
– Retirement account
– Insurance (life, health, etc.)
How do I know that I trusted in these things and not God? The simple answer is; these things gave me peace. If an unexpected bill showed up, I tapped on the savings account. I was relaxed about this because employment would replenish the savings soon enough. If a catastrophic event occurred, I trusted that insurance would come through and save the day. As a result, I did not need God.
I was also a good Christian, so I would never say (or even think!) that I did not need God. That is where church came in. I dedicated time and energy to church in an effort to quiet my conscience about the lack of trust I had in God. These things enabled me to appear very Christian without the bother of faith and trust.
I am not saying that the things in the above list are evil or that a good Christian should not have them. I am simply confessing that I had my priorities wrong and I looked to things, not God, to bring me peace.
The above example is just one of the reasons I do not count this adventure as a sacrifice. I see it as a very prudent investment. It has allowed me to see myself and my relationship with God for what it is and given me the chance to remedy that relationship while my children are still young.
It has also shown me how selfish I was. The stuff that brought me peace demanded a large amount of time and energy to maintain. This left me with very little time to care about others. As a result, I looked the other way as people went hungry in my neighborhood, city, state, country and world. Last week I attended a wedding and the following Bible verse was read:
I Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
This verse is most often read in the context of marriage; however, when you choose a mate, from the billions of people on the planet, you probably do not need to be told how to treat them (especially in the early years). You treat them this way because you chose them. According to the Bible, the love that you show unto the least of these (the ones you would not choose) is what actually matters.
I now can see that the things that gave me peace were robbing me of a true love for God as well as the ability to love my neighbor as myself. According to Jesus, these are the two most important commandments. That is why I do not view this adventure as a sacrifice. When I compare what I gave up to what I have gained, I feel incredibly blessed and more at peace than ever.