“You really should stay home and rest.”
This was the response from several family and friends when they found out that we were going to Mexico with a teen that had been diagnosed with pneumonia just five days before leaving, and when my youngest came home from school just hours before departing with a fever that turned out to be an ear infection and sinus infection.
Being Hope Has A Cost
Whether we volunteer our time or donate our money, bringing hope to those without it has a cost. There is a sacrifice made by the one trying to help the other.
As these are typically our only costs, we don’t sacrifice much when it comes to bringing the Hope of Christ to others here in the US. While we may experience unkind words, the losing of jobs, or even ostracization from friends or family, we in no way come close to enduring the jail time, beatings, or even death for proclaiming who Christ is and what He has done.
So yes, we could have listened to those urging us to stay home and rest. However…
In our lack of rest, a family gained a roof under which they could rest.
This time the cost was money, time, lack of sleep, and another week of being sick as we all came back with strep throat.
I would argue though, it was the first trip of the three we’ve taken that I felt like I made a sacrifice for doing so. It made me all the more glad we went.
Hope Illuminates Its Cost
How often do those of us who go or do in the name of Jesus, whether in our communities or around the world, stop and think about the price paid by those we are going to bring Hope to?
And if we don’t think about it, do those in need of Hope even know the price they’ve paid to be in such a place?
As the saying goes, we don’t know what we don’t know. But when we encounter Hope, it illuminates everything surrounding it, including the cost of journey.
As we arrived that Saturday morning to our build, we watched as 19 year old Oscar tore down his home of six or so palettes covered in plastic. This young man was doing the best he could to provide for his five month old son and 17 year old Deborah.
Allowing us to build a home for him cost him some pride. It cost him probably several days wages to provide food lunch for our team. It cost him the security of knowing he had a place to sleep as he stepped out in faith that we would actually deliver on our promise of a home by the end of the day.
Even more than that though, I can’t help but think that as Oscar slept for the first time under the roof of his new home, he had a new awareness of the hardships he’d endured. How much more did he understand the price he’d paid through difficulties to be where he was now? And hopefully, in light of all of this, an even greater appreciation for the Hope his home represented emerged.
The Greater The Cost, The More Valuable It Is
Looking back over my life, I see that the height of my hope was directly measured by the depth of my despair. The more pain life had brought, the more overwhelming and life-giving Hope encounters became.
Whether it was finding Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace during our most difficult financial days, or God using a writing conference to reaffirm that He loves me whether or not I am a “success” at this writing thing or not, looking back, the Ebeneezer moments of my life where I clearly see God are when I’m looking up at hope from the valley of despair.
It seems the deeper and darker the situation, the more radiant and glorious the Hope found becomes. And, then, in standing on the hill of hope looking down, the true realization of what I’ve come from is realized, and the new found Hope becomes personal, owned, and appreciated.
And when we’ve encountered Hope of great price, it’s becomes difficult to want to keep to ourselves. And here, at this pinnacle, the cost, whatever it is, we become more than willing to pay.
What about you?
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