Though Annie and I had only met a year ago, we became best friends in no time.
Not only were we in the same group of friends in the same CCA – we also attended the same church and cell. We pretended we were like family, calling each other by our sibling titles. Whenever either of us were confronted with tough issues, we would be there for each other.
But one day she shared that God’s will for her was to do full-time missions in another country.
I didn’t want her to go. I struggled with the fact that God had called her out to the field.
How could you, God? I treasure our friendship. Why would you ask her to go when you knew I would be so unhappy?
As I reflected and asked God for wisdom, He began to show me certain truths which helped me to wrestle with and accept Annie’s calling.
3 TRUTHS I LEARNT IN ACCEPTING GOD’S CALLING FOR ANNIE
1. I must lay down my preferences
In accepting God’s calling – whether for ourselves or another person – we need to lay down our preferences. To help Annie accept God’s call for her life, I needed to lay down my preference to have her in the same nation as me.
I should have given her my fullest blessings to go and make an impact for the nations – but I was too self-absorbed. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
The cost in my mind was too tough for me to bear. Just when I was about to give up – the second truth came.
2. I need God’s strength
God gives us the strength needed to obey Him when we choose to have faith and trust in his plan. I can only imagine Abraham’s anguish in Genesis 22, when God called him to sacrifice Isaac – his promised son. But on that journey up the mountain, Abraham depended on God’s strength for the obedience he needed to sacrifice Isaac.
If we truly acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for us – it shows up in our living and decisions. No sacrifice becomes too great for us to bear.
We struggle with accepting God’s calling because we don’t like the idea of giving up the things we want – even if it’s for a greater purpose. But God’s strength empowers us to obey. Encountering His beauty and holiness makes it so that the things of this world – the things we want the most – fade in comparison to His purposes and glory.
As I began to earnestly seek God’s strength to be obedient and release Annie to her mission for Him – He opened my eyes to the final truth.
3. I must remember Jesus sacrificed Himself for us
It’s human nature to look at one’s own problems and consider them bigger than everyone else’s. I was so self-centred that I even considered my “sacrifice” greater than Annie’s!
But if we need to think about sacrifice, we should first think about Jesus. Shortly before His death in Matthew 27:46, Jesus cried out with a loud voice: “Eli Eli, lema sabachthani!” [My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?]
Jesus had made the greatest sacrifice of all time on that cross: The fellowship of the Trinity was broken for the first and only time when Jesus was separated from the Father, bearing the weight of every sin.
That is true sacrifice.
If we truly acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for us – it shows up in our living. It shows up in our decisions. No sacrifice becomes too great for us to bear.
Knowing God initiated the greatest sacrifice was a great help to me as I prepared to let Annie go. In the light of Jesus’ sacrifice, there was no way to hold on to the false belief that letting my best friend follow God’s calling was too costly!
What are you struggling to sacrifice for God? If you find it difficult to release a friend to his or her calling for God, I want you to think about how Paul left his beloved Church in Ephesians (Acts 20).
In this farewell, the elders knew Paul would face “prisons and hardships” (23). And Paul knew they would never “see [him] again” (25). How did both parties respond to such a grave commission?
Paul considered his “life worth nothing,” only aiming to “finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus [had given him]—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (24). And the elders didn’t hold him back. They wept – but they embraced and kissed him (37) as they released him to the higher work God had called him to.
That’s sacrifice. And that’s laying preferences down – from both the one who goes and the one who stays.
Lord, let our farewell glorify You as I surrender Annie into Your hands. There isn’t a pair of hands more secure than Yours.