As I've prayed for Sonya over these weeks, I've found myself so touched by her willingness to do this. To be separated from her family, to suffer pain and sickness and fatigue, to undertake such risk--what a sacrifice! I know Sonya well, and I know that the love of Christ is what compels her. A powerful force, that love!
I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but there's one more thing I've thought as my mind has dwelt on Sonya these past couple of weeks. This is not pretty, but it's true: I've felt jealous of her. Can you imagine? Jealous of someone who's spent the last two weeks hundreds of miles from her family, enduring great pain, suffering through devastating nausea, barely able to eat? Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Why? Because of the way her spirit rests in God. Because she faced even this remarkable journey with the knowledge that God was leading her, and she was content to take even this dramatic step.
Why doesn't God call me to do something dramatic? I've wondered. Why can't I serve Him in some earth-shaking way? Sonya's service saved the life of a wonderful, Godly woman. Why can't I do something like that? Something that really counts??
And then, very gently, God brought me back to His word. One more time, He reminded me of what He's asking me to do right now.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1, NIV)."
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Or as The Message puts it:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering."
My everyday, ordinary life. My errand-running, dinner-cooking, dishes-doing, clothes-washing, child-rearing, husband-loving life. Placed before God as an offering.
You know the problem with living sacrifices, don't you? Just when you've put them in place, living sacrifices can jump down off the altar. So they have to be offered again every day.
But you know what? That daily grind--that offering of myself, that placing myself before God, however broken I may be--it pays off. Read Romans 12:2 from The Message:
"Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
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So, with nothing dramatic to offer, I'll put my life back on the altar. And I'll look forward to a little more change from the inside out.