It’s hard to explain when they ask how I can let my daughter go away– that I’ve been doing that since I sent her off to school and it’s not getting any easier through the years. That some things become inevitable after awhile– that the consequences of choices play out gradually, and it gets hard to pinpoint where the actual milestones of decision stood in the long line of days. And when I think hard, I’m not sure I would choose differently, even if I could roll all the days up and start again. At the time it was the right thing to do, so would I really go back and change a lifetime of days, just because I am struggling with their logical outcome?
Maybe that’s why Jesus asked His followers to count the cost of what they were building: “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28) Be sure this is the path you want to take, because it will lead you places you cannot yet see, and if you are serious about following Him you need to be serious about seeing it through to the end. Investing in eternity, by definition, requires the spending of this world– this life– for Something beyond (although I think most of us cling to the hope that we can have both if we spend carefully).
But then I read again what Jesus was saying about cost, and I know He was already looking ahead to His own wholehearted outpouring, knowing where every step on this path would take Him, ready to give up everything for the sake of His Father’s plan. Maybe our short-sightedness works for our good sometimes, because if we could see all our days ahead, I wonder if we would have the courage to live them. Yet He asks us to look, to consider where we are going and how we will invest our lives, to build our days on those decisions, those values. “…everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24) This is how Jesus defines Success: a life built on the bedrock of God’s truth, one decision after another, until it stands a tower-monument to God’s glory.
This has been on my mind for some months now, how if we are to live with integrity in the Now we must remain faithful to the right decisions we made Then. When we teach our children to submit to God and trust His plans for them…tell them He is good, and His loving-kindness reaches to the heavens…model giving our lives away for the sake of the Kingdom…it’s too late to dig in our heels and protest when they begin building on that foundation a tower that looks different than we thought it would. And if we cannot accept the results of our teaching, the practical outworking in our own lives and theirs, because it is uncomfortable or unpleasant, then what does it say about how truly we believe it? Did we imagine any of us could build for eternity without cost or effort?
Like Jesus said, “…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) Would we really want our children to do anything less?
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
“And I will follow,
My heart surrendered;
My Jesus, I am Yours.
And I will follow,
My life in your hands;
My Jesus, I am Yours.”
(I Surrender All, Elevation Worship)