Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Count the Cost

Repost from October 10, 2016

A thought has been tumbling around in my brain for nearly a month now.  I don't know if it was inspired by the Spirit or was just a crazy thought, but the Lord has been using it as I've continued to mull it over.  It is the idea of counting the cost.  I oftentimes mention this idea as people think through the gospel and what they want to do about it.  Jesus said it is wise to count the cost.  Sometimes people use that as an excuse to not deal with a decision and that's not good.  Choosing not to make a decision in itself is making a decision.  However, this particular thought came on a different topic.

It was around 10:00 PM.  It was pitch black outside in this tiny village that has no electricity.  We'd been on the road in one shape or form since around 7:00 AM.  We had just come down a road measuring only 60 kilometers for 3 hours that tested the suspension of our 4X4 truck and the skills of our driver to the limits.  We'd had no substantial food all day because there are no drive-thrus in our neck of the woods.  The food we had packed to snack on in the car was getting pretty old by this time.  The worst part was that after a few hours sleep and a really long ceremony the following morning, we'd have to turn right around and make this drive all over again.  The thought that came was, "If we had known it would be like this, would we still have come?"  This particular time, the question was easy enough to answer.  We would have.  We had gone to support the president of our national Baptist convention in the loss of his father and help to lay him to rest in honor.  If that meant sore joints and hungry stomachs, so be it.

The line of thought set off an idea and I thought about the host of things that we embark on, never knowing or understanding what will happen as a result of our choice.  I thought through all of the really happy events where we see the starry eyed version of what will be; marriage, raising children, serving Christ, etc, what if we could see in our mind's eye not only those amazingly good things we imagine but also the terrible loss and heartbreak to come, would we make the same choice.  My little sister made an observation recently on social media that sums up what my thoughts were.  Each of these events shapes us, molds us and changes us.  Without the blending of lives through marriage, without the terrors of raising toddlers, without the joys of watching first steps, teaching little ones to read, watching teenagers make the right choice on their own, answered prayers, friends and family that share life with us,  without the stretching of faith and knowledge and depth of dependence on God that comes through trials, I'm not who I am.  If we allow God complete control, He can use each moment to teach us, give us compassion, make us obedient, make us faithful, grow our faith, help us to give comfort in the same manner He has comforted us, learn forgiveness, etc. Given the choice, I would have chosen to skip a lot of trials.  I guess that I'm grateful that we don't always know what is to come.

We recently watched the movie "Insanity of God".  It was powerful and touching and inspiring to me.  We all do need to count the cost of following Christ, but as the movie so plainly stated, "Jesus is worth it all."  So far in my life, very little suffering or sacrifice has been asked of me.  May I always be found willing to go wherever He asks and do whatever He gives me to do.  It is the spoiled brat that thinks only of themselves.  Jesus, make me more like you, ready to lay down my life every day.

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