We are "living the American dream". [By we, I mean Richard and me.]
We have what people work for and dream of. We have what people leave other countries and move here to pursue. We own our home [or at least we're buying it from the bank]. We have a beautiful, healthy baby boy. We have an awesome boxer dog. We have two vehicles and a [semi] fenced in back yard with a big front porch. Our family lives close and we see them often. We enjoy our jobs and make enough money to do the things we like at least occasionally. We are debt free and have traveled extensively in our short 24 years of existence.
But it's not enough.
If this was all we had to look forward to, if all we hoped for was a raise so that we could take a better vacation next summer, if we were striving for a bigger house, a newer car, a nice retirement.... I'd be depressed. Like, prescribe me some meds because I'd be perpetually down in the dumps.
Why? Because the American Dream is a lie from the devil himself. And it's a powerful lie that is permeating the church and burying itself deep into modern Christian culture until it's even become a part of doctrine among some believers. We teach it, sometimes unknowingly, to our children and from the pulpit on Sunday morning. We diminish missions to a program and pat ourselves on the back for "exposing" people to missions. And it's wrong.
And satan smiles.
We buy our children toys and games and movies and cell phones and electronics and the latest gadget that starts with a lower case "i" and cars and prestigious education and the list goes on.
We build our churches with massive steeples and fancy buildings and cushioned pews and the latest in sound and video technology and our toilets flush themselves and the list goes on.
And then we encourage our kids to put a quarter in the Salvation Army pail at Christmas time and to fill a little shoe box with cheap toys from the dollar tree for a poor child in Africa and we pat ourselves on the back.
And we take up an offering and give it to missionaries and if we're really bold we go on a mission trip where we stay in air conditioned hotels and come back and have presentations to talk about the "great" work we did and we have mission "conferences" to display the missionaries that we support and we say things like "Wow, I could never do that!" and we laugh and return to our comfortable, easy, complacent lives.
And Jesus did none of those things.
We tell our children to be thankful that our parents work so hard to give them nice things.
Jesus said you must hate your mother and father to follow me. (Luke 14:26)
We say that we are blessed to live in such a great nation.
God says not to be prideful about our "riches".(1 Timothy 6.17)
We want well-rounded children and smart children and healthy children and children who have opportunities that we don't. Meanwhile thousands of children die everyday of starvation while we save up for our children's education and "opportunities".
And satan smiles. He smiles because that's exactly where he wants us: comfortable and self-absorbed.
As we prepare to sell all that we have to move to a far away place, my heart is very full of many different emotions.
I look back on the journey that has brought us to this point and it's been a lot of things that I didn't expect. It's been challenging and growing and stretching and even painful at times. But it's been so very, very good as we learn to release control of our lives to God and watch as He orchestrates a beautiful picture of His love for all mankind. And to think that we can be a small part of that picture... well, that's true joy.
Two years ago I thought we were ready to go. I thought we could pack up everything and head to this foreign place, but God in all His wisdom knew we weren't ready. So we've waited, and we continue to wait. We wait on His timing because we know it's perfect.
We've visited dozens of churches and shared the vision that God has given us about the uncontacted and lost and dying and most of the time it's fallen on deaf ears. But it's those few seeds that have taken root that put us on our knees in humility before God, thanking Him for putting together the team He has. Thanking Him that only He can take the credit for the literally hundreds of stories of His provision and direction in our lives.
It's God that has brought us to this place where the American Dream is more like a bad dream. It's God who has taken off the blinders and revealed to us that there is so much more to this life than our comforts and our dreams and our goals and our needs and that the eternity of billions is at stake. And that we will have no excuse before God one day when we had the resources and time and money and health and breath to do something about it.
And so we pray. We pray that God will continue to take the blinders off the millions of Christians that are still believing the lie that God wants us to be comfortable and happy. God wants to give us joy unspeakable, but it doesn't come from what this world has to offer. It comes for surrendering all to Him, whatever that may look like.
And we pray that He will keep our hearts and minds focused on Him. We know that there will be distractions and "voices of reason" telling us to find an easier way, to look for something a little "safer". But that's just it: this is the safest place we could possibly be.
And we pray that in all that we do and all that we pursue, our lives will bring glory to His name.