If I felt called by the Lord to service in steamboat springs Colorado it would not be much of a sacrifice for me. In fact if I could move anywhere in the world that's exactly where I'd pick. I could do it. Probably in my own strength, and probably forever.
But what about when a missionary iscalled from Alaska to an island in the Phillipines without air conditioning? What about him? How much is he who hates heat being called to sacrifice? And what should he be willing to put up with to fulfill what he is called to do?
Heat may be is a small thing and has an easy answer: suck it up.
However, what I'm really driving at is my current situation. I'm in a place that is awful. Like really truly unpleasant to live, for a number of reasons; many of which are admittedly personal dislikes. But I feel genuinely like this I where the Lord wants me to be. I don't think He always calls us to places that are miserable. But I also am not convinced he will always call us to a place we will easily thrive on our own, or even enjoy.
So here I am, life isn't great, but the ministry is so much fun I'm having pretty good fun doing it. This alone is nearly enough to sustain me here, at least for a time. The issue then is the family. If my family can't thrive here, then all of sudden I'm sacrificing something very different than my personal displeasure with the oppressive heat, humidity, and lack of sunshine. I'm sacrificing my wife's willingness to follow me places and my children's education and friendships (both of which are basically non-existant here).
There are ways around these things. There are always other things we can try, and we keep trying them. But nothing seems to work. There is one obvious education option that we have confidence would solve most of out frustrations—but it's about $100,000 out of our price range.
My question therefore is, what is a worthwhile sacrifice? Sometimes to be in the service of the Lord you need to make sacrifices. Lack of comfort, I can handle, and money I'm willing to give up. But my family? I've put my foot down there. If the Lord doesn't figure out a way for them to do more than just barely survive, I can no longer care how much I feel called here or how much I love the work or see the need for it; I'll duck tail and run. They are, afterall, my most important disciples.
But that's where it gets interesting. Before I can feel good about leaving I have to do and try everything I can imagine to try and make it work. This means writing letters and asking for favor. This means pleading with our supporters for prayer. And this means putting my kids and wife in less-than-comfortable situations for a time to see if we can figure something out.
In the mean time, I lean on the promises of the Lord for rest, and for His presence to be obvious with us. He knows how much we can really take better than we do. But keeping our eye on the prize is hard when we're desperately limping forward.
Here's to praying He figures something out.