Another day’s spring
Untiringly for her prince
In a state of grace
Art is contemplation of the world in a state of grace. Hermann Hesse.
Song of Solomon 2:1
I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys.
Two weeks ago my husband left again for the mission field. I will see him in six weeks. We were talking together before he left, and he expressed his sadness and concern for leaving me and the children alone so often. I told him, “If I demand everything that is my right to have as a wife and mother, then a hundred years from now, these countries in Asia will still be unreached with the Gospel. Someone has to pay the price.” This is my conviction, and I know it is my husband’s as well. If we are not ready ourselves to pay the price, then who else will?
Each of us has expectations and dreams for our lives, such as getting a good education, having a well-paying job, establishing our own business or buying a farm, land or a house. By the time we get married and have a family, we make serious plans about how to raise our children and build our lives. Surely we have the right to live like everyone else in our society and in our church! Why not?
As believers, our expectations are often even higher. We want a godly husband or wife who is responsible, hardworking, caring, loving, sensitive to our needs, an example as a Christian and dedicated to the church and family. I have my own dreams as well. One of them is just to live completely for my husband and children and spend all my time doing special things for them and for our home. Another dream is to have my husband at home with us and for us to always enjoy a close family relationship and share our lives together. Many Gospel workers as well have expectations and rights they wish to pursue. Perhaps they want to pastor a well-established church with enough members to ensure a good income. The church should be near a city for convenience’s sake, and it should include a nice parsonage with some land around it. After all, the degrees they earned in Bible college or seminary give them the right to have a respected teaching position or a good pastorate. They think, “Let others who don’t have those qualifications do the pioneer work.”
Knowing what we know do we not have the right to pursue our dreams like everyone else? Is there anything wrong with this? No, there is nothing wrong with our rights or with our dreams. But I can speak here for my husband and for myself: I am convinced that we could never really enjoy our dreams and our rights—even if they all became reality—as long as there is a lost world! How could we have peace and live for ourselves, knowing what we know? We have seen the masses of India and the Sub- continent, desperate, bound in spiritual darkness, without hope, slipping off into hell. How could we demand and pursue a life like everybody else, when millions of people in our generation have never heard the name of Jesus even once?
They will only live if someone Pays The Price As the Son of God, Jesus had rights too. But when He saw us, lost without hope and going to hell, He stripped Himself of all He was and of all His rights, so He could come to save us. The Bible says in Philippians 2:7–8: “But [Jesus] emptied Him- self, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Someone had to pay the price for our redemption, and Jesus was the only one qualified to do it. What would our fate have been if He had demanded His rights and not laid them down? We live because Jesus was willing to give up what was rightfully His. The people of our generation will live too, but only if you and I lay down our rights and desires to be like everyone else and pay the price it takes to get the Gospel to them.
My life is not normal. If I said our family life was normal, it wouldn’t be the truth! As a couple, we have made a deliberate decision that our call to reach the lost world with the Gospel must take priority over our own wishes and desires. Day and night, our thoughts, our talk and our work center around this one goal. Of course, all this has caused our family life to be quite different from those of others. Because of my husband’s extensive travel, the children and I are often alone. My responsibilities and work are increased due to his absence. I need to look after the children’s school studies, the home, my work in the office and all the de- tails of family life. Of course, I have dear friends to help me, but it is not the same as if my husband could always be at home with us.
Someone Has to Pay the Price
Are all my needs as a woman met? No, they are not—and yes, they are. No—because I often feel lonely. Sometimes I cry and I miss the closeness and fellowship of and talking with my husband. Yes—because I experience the abundant grace, comfort and love of my God who meets my needs. With all of my heart, I can say that I am deeply grateful that my husband has chosen to put God’s call first, even if it is not always easy for us. I am in total agreement with him that God’s purpose for our lives is more important than our own desires. Even though I am sometimes sad, I wouldn’t want to have a different life! You see, I believe God has called us not to live a normal life, but to be engaged in a war. Wartimes require a different level of commitment and sacrifice from everyone than peacetimes do. Do we feel deprived? No, we are blessed. Do we regret our decision? No, Jesus is worth it all. Do our children suffer? It is not always easy for them. But God is giving them the same grace that He gives us. Someone has to pay the price for a lost world to know Jesus. Why should it not be our generation that will complete the task of “making disciples of all nations”?
~~~~~~~~~~~~Consider Your Call (excerpts): © 1994 by Gisela Yohannan
Someone Has To PAY THE PRICE
Yohannan has ministered to thousands of Christian workers in many countries, teaching God’s Word with deep insight and practical life application. Gisela is married to well-known mission leader and author, K.P. Yohannan, who is the founder and international director of Gospel for Asia. Their two grown children are both serving the Lord with their families.
in health or sickness
happy or sad poor or rich
wrinkles change not hearts
18 Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”
19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Laban replied. 27 “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.”
28 So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29 (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years.
Note: Jacob was 130 when he went to Egypt to be with Joseph (his 11th son). His arrival was the second year of the famine (Genesis 45:6). Joseph was then 39 years old (compare Genesis 41:46 and add the 7 years of plenty and the 2 years of famine). This means that Jacob was 91 when Rachel gave birth to Joseph.
In Ramah, on the road to Bethlehem, Rachel began to give birth to her second son Benjamin and had great difficulty (35:16b). Rachael must have been over one hundred years old by this time. Fifteen years earlier, she had prayed for another son when Joseph was born. Finally, she became pregnant again, but it cost Rachel her life. Jacob’s love for Rachel was timeless. Many years afterwards, her death was still fresh in his mind. On his deathbed, when he was preparing to bless his sons, he remembered that he had buried her with great sorrow (48:7).
Genesis 48:7 New Living Translation (NLT)
7 “Long ago, as I was returning from Paddan-aram,[a] Rachel died in the land of Canaan. We were still on the way, some distance from Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). So with great sorrow I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath.”
richness adorning her famed
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.” ( a famous ideal woman in Proverbs 31)
We have reached the last part of reading the story of a perfect woman in history.
In the last episode we read that she carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. We now see how the famous account in Proverbs 31 concluded on this woman:
- How her family views her: They applaud her. The children give her a standing ovation!
- How her husband views her: He really admires her. In the ancient society women had no social status whatsoever. This woman’s husband is well known and one of the civic leaders of the community. He sits and counsels others at the place of honor (the city gates) with other important officials. Yet he praises her openly. Amazing woman.
- What does he praise her for? She is the best of all virtuous and capable women in the world!
- To sum up her virtue: She is godly and her character as evidenced by her deeds publicly witness her worth in the eyes of God and man.
_____________Bible verses: Proverbs 31:28-31
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
We read further the life of this ideal woman in history. We note some exemplary characteristics as follows:
- She is generous and philanthropic. She takes care of not only her family and household, but also the poor and needy out there.
- She prepares for the future: for herself, her own, and others.
- She is intelligent and with foresight but unselfish: she gives wise and good advice to others.
- She is kind and gentle with her words, even when giving an instruction.
- She has inner strength that is shown in her outward dignity, confidence, courage and even a sense of humor.
- She has chosen an equally good and respectable godly man to spend her life with.
- She has a warm, loving, outgoing personality.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm[c] clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.