Wednesday, May 23, 2012

There's always a cost

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.

There’s always a cost.

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.


Martha Jane Orlando said...

He never says the storms won't come, but promises to be there for us when we are in one.
Enjoyed this reflection, Glynn.

Unknown said...

Good reflection bro'...Katie is a hero in my book.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Great post! I remember God promised to supply my needs. But what I need isn't always exactly what I want. Sometimes living with less becomes more. And when people exit our lives, new come along. It's all a part of God's plan. Wonder what will happen next for Katie.
: )

Anonymous said...

We learn so much from the stories of others.

jasonS said...

I am thoroughly convinced by scripture and experience that He leads us to the hard, rough, and impossible things and situations so that we can overcome and lead others in overcoming. The trials come, but grace is never in short supply as we lean into His will. Great thoughts, Glynn. Thank you.

S. Etole said...

I've enjoyed watching this process through your eyes.

Louise Gallagher said...

Her story makes me think of Michael and Sarah in the Dancing Priest, Glynn.

Faced with the similar challenge -- they eventually found a way through.

Perhaps that is the challenge -- to find a way through to love without losing everything.

I'm pondering this. Good post.

diana said...

The young woman who led the children's choir when my kids were growing up was a student at Cal Tech with a strong call to missions in the Philippines. She was deeply in love with a fellow student, a good man, a follower of Jesus - but without a call to mission.

After nearly 5 years together, they eventually parted ways with many tears. About two years later, she married a man she did not, at the time, love. He too was a good man, a Jesus follower - but with a clear call from God to the same kind of missions my friend had.

They married, had 3 girls and began over 20 years of amazingly powerful, loving work. He is now suffering from prostate cancer with a mixed prognosis. She has never regretted her choice to marry him, they have grown together in love and commitment and shared vision. It was an intensely painful journey to come to that place for her - but God has blessed her obedience in beautiful ways. Thank you for this reminder that sometimes even a very good and beautiful thing/relationship is not necessarily the best option for the life God calls us to live.