Permanent & Without Borders
By Stacey Tuttle
I read in an update from Voice of the Martyrs recently about a Rev. Carlos Lamelas who spent four months in jail in Cuba for his faith in 2006. In the years since, he has been unable to find employment and faced another arrest. Recently, he and his family were granted status as political refugees and came to the United States. He writes, “For our part, we have been open to the will of God, and we know he will take us where we can best serve Him… Our moral commitment with the Lord’s work is permanent and without borders.”
What a great statement. It makes me wonder, can I really make those claims? Can I truly say that I have been open to the will of God—fully, completely open? Am I willing to go wherever He wants, whenever He wants and however He wants? Am I willing to suffer persecution? Face death or, what seems even worse to me, torture?
And do I really trust that wherever, whenever, however God takes me will be so that I can best serve Him?
The harder question is whether or not that is really what I want, more than anything else—to serve Him best. I mean, I know it should be what I want more than anything. But if God were to really search and know my heart as the Psalmist writes, would that really be what He finds? Or would he find that what I want most is a life of ease. Or maybe he’d find that I’m willing to go through some tough times if only I can find a measure of success, however I might define that (even if I define success in more “spiritual” terms—like having saved a lot of people or written a lot of important Christian books, etc.)? Would he find that what I want most is for life to be fun? Or maybe it’s that I just don’t want to live my life alone.
Quite frankly, there are a lot of things that I can think of that might be deep down competing for that place of what I want most in life…and I’m not sure that the winner of that competition is truly my desire to best serve Him with my life. But oh, I pray that it would be!
And what about that last statement, “Our moral commitment with the Lord’s work is permanent and without borders.” Commitment. Permanent. Without borders. There is no escape clause in that. No conditions. No pre-nup. He will take us where we can best serve him and we are committed to that – no matter what, forever, wherever. We will serve him without end, without boundaries. In any country. In any circumstance. Is this something I can say? If Jesus were to report what was really in my heart, would He be able to report this kind of resolve?
At Kanakuk Kamp growing up we had a saying, “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you’re holding on to.” It’s that same idea of following Jesus without any safety net, any back-up plan. He is our safety, our hope, our security and our one and only plan. Our t-shirts with that slogan also had a picture of someone rappelling off a cliff – their only life line was their belay line. It’s putting your faith, all your faith, so much so that you entrust your very life, in that rope.
In a strange connection, it makes me think of Paul telling the Philippians in chapter 4 how he had learned to be content in any and all circumstances. You can say (and mean it!) that you will serve Jesus in any and all circumstances if you know that you can be content in any and all circumstances. If, through Him you knew you could really, truly find contentment no matter what the circumstances, then wouldn’t it be a lot easier to commit and step off that ledge of faith and put all your trust in Him?
Is it possible that some of our reluctance to fully trust Him is that we don’t really know if we can be content in all things?
Oh Jesus, I pray that I would be open to your will and willing to go wherever, whenever and however that may take me, knowing that ultimately it will take me where I can best serve you. I pray that you would make THAT the burning desire of my heart and soul, to best serve you. I pray that I, too, would learn contentment in any and all circumstances so that following you into any and all circumstances would be all the easier to do and commit to. And I pray that you would make my moral fiber strong with commitment and aligned to your work, that my resolve to follow you and do your will would be permanent and without borders. Amen.