For the past two weeks I knew that I wasn't looking forward to March 31. Last night at the airport we said good-bye to my youngest daughter as she began a three-year stretch on the other side of the world, answering God's call on her life. It isn't her first time away by any means, but this time it seems more permanent, no longer as a volunteer, but making a career choice. The tears flowed freely as I hugged her and whispered into her ear my love, my pride, and my loss.
While there were tears from her as well, she is going out with excitement and enthusiasm to do her part to make a difference in the world. All of a sudden I remembered another scenario 21 years earlier as I said my tearful good-byes to my parents in the Indianapolis airport as my family of four headed to South America for what would become a major chunk of our lives. I remember my mom saying that it was the hardest day of her life and yet how proud she was of us.
Twenty-four years earlier my parents with two small children (my sister and I) said good-bye to their parents and relatives in the Indianapolis airport as they embarked on a journey that would take them to the jungles of South America. I don't remember much that day as a six-year-old, except for my fear of the escalators. I couldn't comprehend why tears were flowing, nor that I wouldn't see my grandparents, uncles and aunts or cousins for five long years.
Thirty-three years before that my grandparents left the Midwest on a train to go to California where they would sail for Asia. I can't even imagine what that must have been like for them at that stage of history. They were leaving all that they knew without knowing if they were ever see home or family again. There my uncle and mother would be born.
Almost 80 years have passed since that first missionary journey in my family. While I am deeply thankful for the heritage that I have, and for the privilege of responding to the call personally, in the light of Easter, I am most thankful for Jesus who left His Father's house to so completely identify with us and make it possible for us to have our relationship with God restored.
"(Christ Jesus) had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death--and the worst kind of death at that--a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth--even those long ago dead and buried--will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11, The Message).
Because He was willing to leave His Father, there are people here, and in places where my family has been privileged to serve that have, are, and will call out in praise to Jesus! All to the glorious honor of God the Father!
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