I miss my family terribly—most of all, my father.
About a month before leaving the United States, I visited my parent’s house for a weekend. That was the first time my mom told me about my dad’s declining physical condition. He had developed a noticeable case of the shakes.
Mom and Dad didn’t know what was wrong with him or how serious it was, but they had an appointment set up for him to get tested. His appointment, however, wasn’t scheduled until after I left home. This meant I was leaving the country with the uncertainty whether my dad was going to be OK or not.
My human instinct to worry pushed me to call out to my fellow believers for prayer. I asked for guidance, for peace and for the intercession of my dad’s health. God’s response to these prayers came the week I was leaving.
He placed a verse in my head that encouraged me to sprint full-speed toward this mission field without looking back. The verse still encourages me to this day when my emotions weigh heavy with the thoughts of how my father is doing.
“Follow me. Let the dead bury their own dead.”
These words of Jesus words have reminded me of the cost to be his follower—complete abandonment. Things on this earth—our most desired possessions, even our cherished relationships—mean nothing compared to Christ’s call to serve. These things are blessing from the Father, but if any of these precious gifts ever stand in the way of the onward movement of the gospel, they should be left at of the side of the road as we continue to move forward.
Since arriving in Wales, I have learned by dad has Parkinson’s disease. He is on medication now and maintaining a positive attitude.
As I pray for my dad in Texas, I thank God for the wisdom and faith he gave to him. I know he loves me, but I also know he would choose the advancement of God’s kingdom over me if the situation were presented. I know this because my dad has modeled his fathering techniques after the Ultimate Dad.
God the Father set the bar by sacrificing his Son so sinners could be saved. I know my dad is willing to follow that example if spiritually instructed. As a result, I know both my Heavenly Father and earthly father want me to do the same.
This complete abandonment, I believe, begins with abandonment of self. If I die to my desires and make my preferences completely in sync with the kingdom, then what I desire most will not stand in the way. What I will desire will be Jesus. He will fuel me to run the race. He will occupy the spaces in my life labeled needs. He will be what I act like, speak about, and think of. When sharing the gospel, Jesus will be my strength because he is the gospel.
When I am distracted by emotional or physical pain, I pray that the Holy Spirit reminds me of the complete abandonment Jesus demanded from his followers.
William Bowden, a recent graduate of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, served a semester in Wales with Go Now Missions when he was a student. He has returned to serve as a missionary Journeyman.