I was struck with a line from this verse as we sat in worship this Easter Sunday. "...for the joy set before him endured the cross...." and it has affected me deeply in the way I am viewing and responding to my husband's mission trip to Honduras.
I know that what I will go through, being separated from my beloved for 3 weeks, is NOTHING compared to what my Savior suffered as He died for our sins, still it is a personal sacrifice that I will experience.
My husband too will sacrifice greatly for this trip. He goes to Tegucigalpa Honduras which has been claimed as the 'murder capitol of the world' owing to the amount of gangs and warfare between them. He will live simply and work hard for the time he is there, striving to make a difference while many things will work against him. the language barrier, the ethnic and cultural differences, the heat, the danger. the things we take for granted when we go about in our safe and secure society. We are not new to this kind of experience, having been on several out of country aid trips before.
|going out on a limb for Jesus.|
The financial hardships that being away from work brings will also be dealt with. We have had some very generous support come our way and it has and will make a huge difference but there will still be some struggles to get back on solid footing upon Bruce's return.
I have struggled the most however with the emotional roller coaster of facing the fear and loneliness this separation will bring us. I've blogged about this probably ad nauseam and have surrendered it numerous times to God in prayer. Since meeting with our pastor and friends last week, a new level of peace has settled over me and sustained me but I really wanted to come to a place of more than acceptance. I wanted to be a true partner with my husband in this mission adventure. I wanted both of us to be excited and JOY-full over it.
So as we sat in church yesterday and listened to our pastor speak of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and participated in some beautiful songs of worship and then watched a video testimony of a dear friend who shared with raw honesty about the last 6 months as she has learned to navigate widow-hood, I was struck by the JOY that permeated all of it. So much so, that when the scripture was read from Hebrews, that line leaped out at me and I grabbed onto it greedily. Jesus, who for the JOY set before him, endured the cross. How could He willingly go to the cross, knowing that pain and agony and death awaited Him? Despite the fact that He knew He'd rise from the dead, fully alive, still, the dread of what was coming had to be overwhelmingly great.
As I look to the 11th of this month, when I must kiss and hug my husband and let him go, I know the fear that pounds in my heart and the tumbling anxiety that rolls in my tummy is my cross. For what is the worse thing that could happen to me? It is this: to lose my husband. And I listened with tears streaming down my cheeks as my friend on the screen shared exactly that; what it's been like the last 6 months to live without her best friend and soul mate by her side. Yet there was still unmistakable joy in her voice, her expression as she shared how Jesus has met her in that pain and walked beside her. She may not still understand why her beloved was taken from her, but she moves forward in faith.
As I listened I thought, I don't understand why this time, this mission trip, has been so hard for me to come to terms with. I still don't like that Bruce is going away. I will never like this. But. I accept it. I trust God for whatever shall come. And I trust that there will be joy. Maybe not today, but tomorrow. Tomorrow there will be joy because the suffering we will go through now will result in something worthy of joy. I trust my God and His promises. It's like a check I can take to the bank and cash.
When I shared these thoughts with my husband yesterday I felt something shift inside of me. As he squeezed my hand in love and appreciation for my thoughts and feelings, I felt something stir. It was like a small bubble rising. It was something I recognized and had been longing for. It was Joy.