Is It Worth It

Last month I asked you to pray for a Christian India doctor who was doing medical missionary work in India and was told he could not return when he left for a medical conference in Greece.  He tried to go back but was denied entrance.  All he could find out was that the Indian consulate which issued his papers in the USA had issued an order to keep him from returning to India.  After a long, draining, very difficult time he was separated from his wife and children, who were allowed to enter India, and was escorted to a flight out of India.  His wife and children will pack up their things and travel to join him when they can.

This is what he wrote about it:  “This has been one of the most difficult days of my life.  I don’t think I’ve cried this long or hard for many years.  I wept as I sat down in my seat and watched India disappear away through the windows of the plane.  This land and people we love so much that we gave up our lives in the US to come and live here.  These group of young doctors and nurses that we have loved getting to see grow in their medical knowledge and spiritual maturity while I was with them.

“It was a difficult day because it broke my heart to see my family from behind the cordoned off section of the immigration detention center.  It was hard to watch them cry, not knowing when they would see me again.  It was hard to see my wife, knowing that there was nothing she could do – realizing that I have never been this far away from her since we were married almost 13 years ago.

“Since I was sixteen, God had placed a burden on my heart to return to India to care for those that had little and in caring for them share God’s love with them.  I met my wife, a wonderful, godly woman who shared a similar passion to go to India.  God has led us through undergraduate, medical school and residency with this one aim of serving the people of India with good holistic medical care.   This has been our dream and where we felt that God has led us now for over 17 years.

“So where does that leave us now?  I don’t know.  Our heart still burns for India and to see this nation transformed.  Both my wife and I are first borns and planners.  We have always made decisions after thinking through it carefully, praying about it, planning and then finally committing.  That is how most of our married life has been.  We always knew what our lives would likely look like a few months from now or a few years from now.

“This is the first time in my life that I don’t know where I’ll sleep tonight.  I don’t know when I will see my family again.  I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow.  I don’t know what my next few months or year ahead will look like.  Perhaps that is the difficult lesson God is teaching us – trust Him day by day.  Trust him hour by hour because we don’t have any other choice.

“One of the thoughts that I’ve been struggling with this past month is where is my home?  I think a few weeks ago I would have said India.  And three years ago I would have said the U.S.  But now we have no home.  One of the hardest things for me to grapple with is the reality that the land that gave birth to me no longer considers me welcome. However, what the Lord has been reminding me of constantly this month has been is that this is not my home.  I will never find the rest and peace that I long for in a home here.  It is a place that many before us have walked.  To be sojourners in a land, longing for a home yet to come. Hebrews 11:35-40.

“As I was praying for the past few days, I had been reading through the book of Acts and I took particular courage from the words that the Lord spoke to Paul after he was arrested in Acts 23.  He said in Acts 23:11, “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!  As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”  I still don’t know why the Lord brought those verses to me powerfully as I was reading through Acts but my denial of entry into India is no accident.  It was part of His plan and will for our lives.  We are confident that the same God who has lead us so clearly these past 17 years will continue to guide us – our only hope is that whatever happens to us that it might serve to further the mission of helping people to know the great and magnificent love of Christ.

“A final question that I wondered about as I cried out before the Lord this morning was this question of “Is it worth it?”   “Is it worth it for me to be treated like a criminal for your name’s sake?”  “Is it worth it for me to lose my home, my job, my career for your name’s sake?”   “Is it worth it for me to not see my wife and my children for your name’s sake?”   “Is it worth it for me to live a life of uncertainty for your name’s sake?”  “Is it worth it for me to have spent 17 years following Your leading to India and then seem to have lost it all for your name’s sake?”  “Is it worth it for me to watch my children weep because they don’t know when they will see me again for your name’s sake?”  And the answer is, “Yes.  Yes Lord, it is worth it, because You are worthy!”  (May 16, 2016 Doylestown, PA)

Hebrews 11:13-16   All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

How would you answer that question about your life and what you have gone through to faithfully serve the Lord?  Has it been worth it?  If so, tell the Lord it’s been worth it!

PRAY FOR this faithful servant, and hundreds like him around the world who give up everything to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  Pray for courage, peace and faithfulness for them and their families.

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