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Clenched fists at the altar.

A missionary from Central Asia visited our church yesterday, and we were able to join some others for lunch with her.  One of the questions I asked her was, “Do you ever fear being there?”  When I was single, I was much more fearless (I had nothing to lose!), but now that I have a family, especially children, that’s my greatest struggle.

I expected her to sympathize a little with me and comfort and reassure me that God would care for us, that He was trustworthy, so on.

But she locked eyes with me and, without missing a beat, told me about a missionary couple in her area who had children later in life (miracle babies!).  Their children grew up to love Jesus and were attending college and seminary in the area.  One day, the wife came home from the hospital to find that her home was in flames and her husband, daughter, and son were all shot and killed by — or exploded by — suicide bombers.

That was her answer to my fears.

I was so stunned (and in tears) that I couldn’t ask any more questions.

She told me that those who lasted in her area were those were sure they were called.  And they were willing to lay down everything.  They knew the cost, they were willing to risk it all because God had called them.

Since then, I’ve wrestled with her answer to me.

Am I willing to lay husband and children on the altar, entrusting their “fate” to God, should He call us to a difficult corner of the world?  Is the gospel that precious to me?  Do I share enough of God’s heart for the lost to risk my dearest earthly treasures?  Do I desire His glory that much?  Do I count God that worthy?

And if I’m not willing, am I even willing to pray for willingness?

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