28 November 2014


"I Am Not There, I Am Here"

On this Thanksgiving holiday I am thankful for many things including living and working in Ukraine. I must admit, though, our hearts sometimes ache over being so far from loved ones and family, from our culture and familiarity of it.  I post this from another missionary.  It is encouraging and I hope helps others to understand our being so far. 

I am not there.

          I am here.

The miles are long. Their days are my nights. My days are their nights.

I am not there. I am here.

She looks so beautiful, dressed in white. She walks the aisle, and he meets her at the front. The “I do’s” are said and tears of joy are shed. I do not see it. I only have pictures. I am not there. I am here.

The tree is put up and decorated. The lights glisten and glow. Sipping hot chocolate after a family dinner. Presents exchanged. But I am not there. I am here.

Tears are shed. Flowers fill the chapel. A casket is closed. Hearts are broken. Goodbyes are spoken. Comforting hugs. Reminiscing over happy memories. But I am not there. I am here.

A family hurting. Children crying. Parents aching. And someone leaves. A broken home. Phone calls and emails are all I have. My heart wants to hold them, to cry with them. I want to wipe away the tears. But I am not there. I am here.

Bad news comes. Health is failing. Surgeries. Treatments. Doctor’s appointments. I cannot help. I cannot drive for them or cook a meal or clean. I am not there. I am here.

A beautiful pregnant belly. The gender announced. Before long, the labor starts. The baby’s first cry. Happy parents. But I do not get to hold the baby. I do not hear the cry. I am not there. I am here.

Birthdays come and go. Trials faced. But I am not there…

Sometimes my heart wants to cry out, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first see her wedding. Let me first see the baby born. Let me make sure everyone will be o.k. while I am gone. Let me first… me first…”

              Me first…

I am not the first to think it. I am not the first to feel the pull… the tug.

Luke 9:57-62 “And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.  And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Following is not without sacrifice. I don’t want to look back. I want to keep my hand to the plough. I want to plough straight and deep.

My heart wants to cry, “Me first!” So I remind my heart about what belongs first.

Matthew 6:33  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

If I put Him first, He will supply me need… comfort when I ache inside… comfort when I miss family and friends… comfort when the tears flow.

Why am I here when I am missing out on things there?

 I remember why I am here. I remember Who brought me here.

Romans 10:13-15 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

I am not there.

              By God’s grace, I am here.

              So today, I lay “there” on the altar again.

I am here.   (Author unknown, surely a missionary)

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