Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My World has Shrunk

My living space has shrunk to the spare bedroom in a tiny house with my mother-in-law. My regular jaunts for doctor’s visits, lab appointments, and shopping are within a 5 mile radius of this little house. And when my friend picks me up to accompany her to court 20 minutes away I feel like I’m on holiday! For the time being I’m fairly limited in being able to be away from the house. Randy and I even had to slot in a short coffee date on a grocery run while mom was in bed. For the time being, no more day trips to encourage isolated missionaries, no more five-day road trips across four nations of Africa, and no short hops on a plane two countries north. Right now my assigned portion is this slice of suburbia. My world has shrunk and I’m feeling the pinch and the pain of my loss.

And in the moments I feel overwhelmed with the narrowness of choices, travel, and food I am reminded of Jesus who left Heaven’s infinity to live in a narrow slice of troubled land. His ministry was primarily limited to the Jewish people and particularly the poor and needy. During his ministry he had no permanent home or transportation. (Okay, I have it really good!)

During my season of restriction I am starkly reminded that God is in charge. He’s my boss. Hey, I know it, but I can easily forget that! God can tell me where to live and what to do. He can send me to suburbia to care for my mother-in-law. And that is what my life as a servant is to be about!

I’ve also been reminded that this servant calling is not about what I want or even about what I think I need. In our mushy comfort driven society we’ve been brainwashed to think that we are supposed to be monitoring our lives to ensure that our needs are met and that anything that imposes on those needs has to be out of line or unjust. In other words, we think we are entitled and God has to cough up!

As a result, I can be tempted to subconsciously think that God is crowding me and overlooking my needs. Not true. The clear point Jesus made about not worrying is “Your father knows you need these things” (Mtt 6:32). It is during the reoccurring moments I feel claustrophobic in my little suburban bubble that I have to choose to trust God to care for what he knows I need just as Jesus did.

And God reminds me that when I’m focusing on giving up my freedom to travel, my nice home, our sturdy four x four, and my own kitchen, I can easily be distracted from actually serving those I’m sent to serve! Jesus so clearly left everything behind when he came to earth as a man, but we have no record of any time he whined about his losses or the cost of serving. We do have stories of his unabated focused ministry to those he came to serve.

And one delight of our transition is the times of joy I’ve experienced when I fall into bed after a busy day of drudgery and hear God’s “well done.” At those times I’m reminded of God’s stamp of approval on servanthood.

I’m not quite sure yet of all God’s purposes and plans for this transition, but if I just make progress in implementing these lessons of servanthood in this new context, it would be worth everything I’ve given up. Maybe that is just what God had in mind!

picture from photobucket

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