A New Home; A New Perspective

I supposed, on some level, that the whole crossing of the Atlantic would have seemed more dramatic to me.   Just for the record, for those who haven’t noticed, I’ve been accused of being idealistic.   I’ve labored for the past six years for the day when I would return to Italy and it’s finally here!   I can recall countless sleepless nights in seminary staying up late translating Greek or Hebrew; I’d stare out the window at the night sky and remind myself that I was enduring the momentary hardship for the sake of the gospel in Italy.   Thinking of the great need here in Italy pressed me onward in joyful submission to the call that God has placed on my life.   Now that I’m here, I know it isn’t about anything glitzy, trendy, or spendy.   It isn’t about me, my family, my expectations, or my dreams.   It is about His name, His Kingdom, and the souls of Italians.

Don’t get me wrong, it was very hard for us to walk through the security line at the airport in New Orleans after saying goodbye to my parents and just as difficult the week before leaving Jana’s folks in Arkansas.   Likewise, it was incredibly special to have our CrossWorld colleagues at the airport to meet us on this side of the pond!   I know that it will similarly thrill my heart to see precious Italian friends at church on Sunday after so many years of absence.   However, the actual journey and now our first days in Italy are the beginning of what He desires to be “a long obedience in the same direction” (al la Eugene Peterson).   Yes, there will be breathtaking highs and gut-wrenching lows–our colleagues have assured us–but that isn’t where the mettle of His ministry is worked out (here or anywhere else in the world).   He is calling us to a daily desperate dependence–a moment-by-moment intimate love affair with Himself.   That is where His transforming power is worked into our lives and His glory is subsequently worked out for the world to see…

Perhaps I read too many missionary biographies in seminary–stories of somber saints who said goodbye to their loved ones, packed their lives into their own coffins, and sailed to a far-away place with no intention of ever returning.   Yes, those were definitely inspiring stories with truth to speak into my journey.   Yet, as I sit here this morning with the sleepy-eyed glaze of jet-lag about me, I’m struck with the fact that He doesn’t want me to begin today with the end in sight.   What?   He isn’t so concerned with the results, although we pray they come.   Really?   He wants me to begin today and every moment of every day with His Son in sight–striving for faithfulness and obedience in Him–and trusting any potential results to His care.

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