Doing the kind of work we do, I often have people say things like,
“Thank you so much for the sacrifices you’re making.” Or
“You really give up a lot to do what you do.” Or
“You guys have sacrificed so much.”
And I never know quite how to respond.
Not because it isn’t a sacrifice to do what we do. It is. We give up close proximity to family and friends, the comfort of living in our own culture, the ease of speaking our natural language, the effortlessness of doing life in the place we grew up. And there are other sacrifices that feel even more costly- the spiritual darkness we are surrounded by, the lack of educational options for our kids, the isolation that comes from living in a remote location. Yes, we sacrifice.
But several years ago when we were serving in a different ministry capacity and went through some extremely challenging times, I came to a point where I had to reconcile whether or not what I felt like I was sacrificing was actually worth it. Was the ministry worth it? Were the people we had invested in and loved that turned their backs on us worth it? Were the tears in the middle of the night and the unanswered prayers worth it? And it scared me when sometimes I felt that the answer was “no”.
It wasn’t until we stepped foot on foreign soil and my life turned upside down as I embraced a new season and a new calling that I realized I had been asking the wrong question all along. I had been asking if the sacrifices I was making were worth it, when what I really should have been asking was if God was worth it.
Because when we ask ourselves if He is worth it? The answer is always yes.
Our first two years abroad I felt like I contributed very little to making an eternal impact. I could barely speak the language, much less share the good news in a way that could change a life. My kids struggled at times with adjusting and making friends and being homeschooled. We struggled to find our place and build relationships and speak the language. I often felt very, very helpless. But over and over again, when I would want to throw up my hands because the sacrifice felt too great and the results seemed too small, He would ask me:
“Am I worth it?”
And the answer was always yes.
Sweet friends, God is not looking for results. He isn’t sizing up our sacrifice and deciding how pleased He is by how productive we are. And the sacrifice itself isn’t even the point. Because honestly? There are times it won’t feel worth it. We will suffer and struggle and wrestle with our calling. The pain of the sacrifice, the cost of the offering will seem too much to bear. But then, gently, He will draw us back in and whisper-
“Am I worth it?”
And the answer is yes. It is always yes. He is worth it.
The sacrifice won’t always feel worth it, but the God we give it to always is.