Friday, January 13, 2012

The Inheritance

As we have considered moving to Ethiopia over the past year, I am not proud of the fact that it has been rough. I have dug my heels in the dirt in protest almost every step of the way. I get stuck in counting the cost…I start weighing it all out and that is where I stop. Honestly, from my fleshly perspective, the cost of leaving everything, everyONE is too high. I have explained to God that it isn’t me I am concerned about, it’s The Littles. I can get indignant, “Why did You give us such wonderful family if You are gonna take us to the other side of the world?” Then I read the scriptures and I beg God for the words of Christ to be what drives me.

I found this article in HeartCry magazine from one missionary mama to another. Many of her thoughts resonated with me. It Is long, but beautiful, encouraging and full of truths I pray I can remember.

I recently began to feel the acute pangs of missing home. I think it began with my sister going into labor and me being so far away in a tiny village when I received the news. I felt so far away and sensed a growing sadness in not experiencing that moment with my family. I was bombarded by a growing array of thoughts about having missed so many other joyous family moments. I looked at my little daughter who is a constant joy in my life, and I ached with the desire for her grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles to experience her life as I do daily. But they won’t and when they see her again, this stage will be gone. These sad thoughts grew, linked themselves to others, and spiraled downward to a place where my sacrifice no longer seemed worthy it. My head knew why it was worth it, but my heart refused compliance. I began to think: If I could only have some assurance as to when we should be finished with the work, then I could set my eyes upon the light at the end of the tunnel. However, this caused my heart to leap at the thought of returning home to family rather than at the precious reality that a new people group is now offering a new praise unto our Father.

Today, while reading “Candles in the Dark” by Amy Carmichael, I came across an excerpt of a letter to a dear friend in which she quoted Deuteronomy 18:2:

“The Lord is their inheritance as He hath said unto them.” Amy then followed by writing the following: “I thought then as I think now of the lovely inheritance you might have had. But He is your Inheritance instead of that lovely earthly joy. Throughout all eternity that word will be opening up its treasures.”

At that point I could not remember exactly what the context was for this verse, so I looked up Deuteronomy 18:12. God, in giving instruction to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land, lays down what should be the inheritance rights for the Levites, those God-chosen servants who were to devote their lives to worshipful service in the temple. My heart sank as I read: “The priests, who are Levites-indeed the whole tribe of Levi-are to have no allotment of inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as He promised them.”

Tears burned my eyes as the Lord spoke these words directly and deeply to my heart. I thought of the other eleven tribes who received-as their right-a share in the goodness of the land. I then thought of my family, in their homes, enjoying the blessings, those “lovely, earthly joys” God had frequently given them. And I heard in my heart, But that is not to be your place. Your inheritance is different.” As I was soaking this in, tears again burned my eyes, and I whispered back to Him, “This is a hard word.” My desires to have my daughter grow up around her grandparents and family and an eventual life of pleasant familiarity in America crumbled around me. Then, I again heard God whisper, “This is not your inheritance. Your inheritance is Me.” How true this is for my life. I even live on the offerings made to the Lord by my brothers and sisters who have received a very different inheritance. As I closed my Bible my eyes again went to Amy Carmichael’s letter: “You will never regret your choice. It is wonderful to be free to pour out all, every drop of one’s life; and that is what you have done and are doing. No, you will never regret it; never.”

There, in my mind’s eye, I knelt beside the road of my spiritual journey, dug a small hole and buried, hopefully deep enough, my desires for a different inheritance. He is enough! My heart still feels weighted with mourning the death of a desire. However, my heart is secure in knowing that He is enough. I must, in faith, cling to this promise. He is my inheritance, my eternal inheritance, just as He promised.


Sarah said...

Wow. This made me cry. My heart hurts, but it is such a perspective-building essay. Thanks for sharing it along with your own "real" thoughts ....

erica said...

Just what I needed today. Thank you for sharing, and may God fill you with His peace as you anticipate moving to Ethiopia. Praying for you!

Nathan and Rachel said...

Wow, Amy. Thank you for this. I needed to read it!