What on earth are we doing living in the middle of the Papua New Guinea jungle alongside this tiny grass airstrip?
We’re serving the Lord.
And yes, sometimes not so joyfully. He has tested us thoroughly. At every step He asks, “Is it too costly?...Is it worth serving Me?”
In my bible is a scrap of paper on which countless years ago I scribbled a single sentence. That scrap of paper travels around with me for a bookmark as I wend my way through the pages of scripture. Right now it is resting in the book of Romans, between chapters 5 and 6. This is what is scribbled on it: “The personal price often determines the relative value.” David did not want to give to the Lord what did not cost him. Read that story in 2 Sam. 24. He understood that what comes at personal cost has far greater value.
Has it been costly to serve the Lord in Papua New Guinea among the Angave people? Yes.
It has cost us our children, whose lives go on without us. Our grandchildren, whom we see for just a few short months every 3 years. It cost us our beautiful 15-room Victorian home in which we raised our family. It has cost us the comfort and security of living in our home country; as bad as things may be, the United States is still the greatest country in the world. It has cost us the fellowship of our church family. Our friends: we found that for many out of sight is also out of mind and heart. It cost us financial health and wealth when Ray gave up his career in the commercial roofing industry. I has cost us our pride. Our self-sufficiency. Our pets. Beautiful things. Summer cherries. The changing seasons.
Yes, it has been costly.
If I had known ahead of time the high price I would be asked to pay, I think I would have said, “No. The cost is too high.” Yet slowly and inexorably He has led us up incremental steps of grace to the place where, when He asks the question, “Is it too much?” we are able to answer “No.”
And so, even as He comes again and says, “I’m asking this of you. Is the cost too high?” we continue to say, “No, Lord. It’s not.”
And yes, joyfully.