On Sunday in church, one brother shared who was departing the next day for Thailand. After language school, he and his family are planning to adopt the way of life of Thailand’s “sea gypsies” – a group I know nothing about.
I still know nothing. After a day of pondering, I have yet to do any research on this people group whose name rings of mystery and magic. But this brother shared one story that I hope I never forget…. A story about his daughter.
A few weeks ago, he found her crying – scared and sad to be leaving her friends in Malaysia and moving to another country, having to learn another language. He prayed with her, encouraged her, and comforted her.
A few days ago, she found him while he was making some last-minute preparations online, and climbed into his lap. He asked her how she was feeling about the move. “I’m excited!” she said.
“Excited? Just a few weeks ago you were so sad. Tell me – what is making you so excited?”
“Do you really want to know?” she asked doubtfully.
“Of course I really want to know.”
“Do you really want to know the really real reason?” (She has some major suspense building skills!)
“Yes, darling, I really really want to know the really real reason!”
She paused, looking long into her daddy’s eyes. Then she spoke: “Dad, I am excited to go to Thailand, because – because I will get to know you better.”
He sat back, amazed. “What do you mean” he asked.
“You are always busy here, and I know that we will have more time there. I am so excited to really get to know my dad.”
He was dumbfounded, as was I, as I listened with tears gathering behind my eyes.
“Honey, you know it’s going to be hard. Where we’re going there won’t be any running water or electricity, with a new language and new people – you really think it’s worth it, just to get to know me?”
He could only explain the answer that came as given by God: “Dad, it won’t begin to compare!”
He teared up, as did the rest of us, as he shared the lesson that God had taught him that day. We do missions – we “go into all the world” – we leave so much behind – we step into many challenges and joys – we risk our very selves… not simply to obey a command, great as that command is. We don’t do it to score points with God or to make a dramatic living sacrifice on his altar. We do it because we know that as we follow His calling, we will get to know our Father! And the price we pay cannot even begin to compare to knowing our God as Father.