This is the chapter in Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption that I’ve been expecting. This is the chapter about the cost, the cost of doing the work Katie Davis has been doing in Africa.
She’s alluded to it, and dropped some hints now and then. She’s talked openly about the discouragement and challenges she faces every day. Those aren’t the cost, however. No one expects missions work in any country to be easy, and especially in a developing country like Uganda.
The cost is personal.
She begins the chapter with a story about three-year-old Grace, who develops a phobia for taking baths. Once she’s in the tub, she remembers how much fun it is, enjoys herself, and doesn’t want to get out.
Katie likens Grace’s phobia to obedience, to the things we don’t want to do even though they’re good for us, but once we do them, we might even come to understand and enjoy them.
For Katie, though, obedience is not about taking a bath. It’s about giving up the young man she loves.
He supported her, helped her, visited her in Uganda – but he didn’t share the same vision she had. That difference eventually becomes a gap that can’t be bridged.
She knows that the personal pain is trivial and momentary in the grand scheme of things, and she takes some comfort in that. I suspect the personal pain is worse than she lets on. And I suspect the pain isn’t just personal, because more than only Katie is involved here.
Does that mean you don’t continue simply to avoid the pain? No. But it does mean that there is usually a personal cost. “Responding to God’s call” doesn’t mean you will have a life without pain, turmoil, struggle and conflict. In fact, one might argue – I would argue – that responding to God’s call virtually guarantees a life of pain, turmoil, struggle and conflict.
This is where I have no patience with the prosperity gospel crowd – that if just believe hard enough, good material things will happen to you. It was my major issue with the popular The Prayer of Jabez a few years back – that it swung far too closely to articulating a “more acceptable” version of the prosperity gospel.
No, responding to God’s call, trying to live the gospel is hard, hard, work, whether it’s in Uganda or Nashville. It’s the life Katie is living, and it often means pain and loss.
Still, even knowing that, I think my heart broke a bit.
Hosted by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading Kisses from Katie. To see more posts on this chapter, “Counting the Cost,” please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact.