Monday, July 28, 2014

A request and a reminder

Today I am asking a favor. Would you please pray from Dr. Kent Brantly and his family? You may have heard of his situation on the nightly news, twitter, or the news wires. While working as a medical missionary in Liberia, he has tested positive for the Ebola virus. And while it is prominently in the news, those who love him have appealed for our prayers on this blog post.

Please read it, and please pray for him and his family.

As I pray earnestly for his healing, I cannot help but be reminded of what it means to follow Jesus. Most of us want safe, happy lives. We want to be insulated from any risk or danger. We would prefer a god who offers a life of ease, health, wealth, and pleasure.

But the Scripture is very clear that this is not the life God has called us to. It uses phrases like "take up your cross (which was an instrument of death),", "whoever loses his life will find it," and "go into all the world." It talks of suffering as the path to discipleship, and tells us that we are blessed when we encounter hardship.

No, God is not calling us to safety. The expression, "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will" is only true if we consider safety in the context of our eternal destiny. As a C.S. Lewis character said of Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

Or, in the words of my niece's favorite expression, "Ships are safe in the harbor. But that's not what ships are for."

God calls us to radical obedience, no matter where it takes us. It could be risking your job to stand for moral integrity. It could be risking your financial stability by giving generously to those in need. It could be volunteering to share God's love in a part of town you're not comfortable with. Or it could be serving him in another part of the world where the risks are completely different.

My heart is aching for what the Brantly family is going through. I am thankful for a family that, knowing the risks, followed Jesus in loving the people of west Africa. And I pray for his healing and for his family's comfort.

Would you join me in that?

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