The cost-benefit ration of following God's lead and moving overseas is complex and varied. Are there benefits? Absolutely! We can count abundant benefits to our family, our marriage, our kids, and our spiritual lives. There are many, many benefits to living a life of service overseas.
But, are there costs? Of course. Yes, absolutely. There are painful, daily, humiliating, and difficult costs on our lives.
I think, that said, there is a cost to any God-following obedience. ...taking up our cross, He calls it in Scripture. There is always a cost to following Christ.
The cross... although it bring innumerable benefits... is painful and heavy.
The costs of moving out of your home culture to serve alongside the Good Shepherd, though, are unique. And, these costs are heavy.
This is the cost, she says half smiling-half ready to cry.
My heart knows exactly what she is saying... I get it. And, I say, Yes! ...Yes, I say as my eyes now brimming with tears, too.
...missing your sister's wedding.
...missing your nieces birth.
...receiving an email (not a call) about your mother's health.
...having your young child ask you again, "Now, who is that person?... What is his name?" And, he is referring to your brother, his uncle.
...missing those in-between years when nephews grow from babies to boys... boys to men.
...missing that graduation, that 40th birthday party and the Thanksgiving dinner.
...being forgotten. or, instead, being so deeply missed that you are the source of someone's pain. Which is better?
...raising kids that are not "normal". And, they know it.
...not having that youth group, that Grandma's mentoring, or that Christian soul friend for a young budding daughter.
...not having that booming, beautiful, vibrant worship service each week.
...having to choose which state-side family crisis is worth the price of an international flight, ...and having to go on your own, because tickets for the others are too expensive.
...not having a primary care doctor that knows you, has known your medical history or even your name.
...not helping with your dear friends wedding shower, or attending her dad's funeral.
... missing it. ...not being there. ...not having.
This is the cost, she says to me. And, I hear her heart. And, I can only agree. I nod. And, I smile with small tears brimming. Yes, this is the cost.
Is it worth it? ...What a crazy, silly question, we both know. Even with brimming tears we know --of course it is worth it!? We hardly have to ask each other the question. We know what He has asked of us. And, we know His will is for His glory and our best. We know the benefits. We know our Good Father and His blessings. So, of course it is worth it!!
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68
The benefit most definitely outweigh the cost. Always. Where else are we to go?!
But, there is a cost. And, there is a cross.
And, we must carry it. And, yes, this is the cost.