What does it mean to give up the things we love, for the things we love even more? While some may see this kind of sacrifice as burdensome and painful, those who know the overwhelming worth of Christ see it as something different altogether. When someone has a true encounter with the living God this kind of sacrificial love is the only natural response.
One of our disciple makers, Farah, is one of these people. In her own words, “I was very depressed because the government had fallen, our country was no longer a republic, and my husband was a soldier in the previous regime. He was wanted by the police and his life was in danger at every given moment because if they found him they would kill him since they viewed him as the enemy.
I became tired of living a life on the run. I lost my way and had no hope for my life…”. She is not alone. All over the world people face impossible circumstances just like hers and find themselves overwhelmed with the burden of pain, anxiety, and depression. Without a solution to the immediate problem, is it even possible to experience peace?
Peace that Surpasses Understanding
Soon after, Farah met a couple different from anyone she had ever known before. In the midst of heavy trials and difficulties, they radiated peace. Farah was desperate to know more and they told her they had heard stories of God and been changed. Farah begged them to share the stories with her, and something inside her shifted almost immediately. With no change to her circumstances: her country still war torn, her husband still on the run, her life still on tenuous ground- she experiences the fullness of the peace of Christ. The kind that is independent of all circumstances. The kind that surpasses understanding.
A Greater Love
A few stories in, a miracle happened. Farah’s husband was able to escape to a country where he was safe. This is what they had been waiting for, hoping for, desperate for, but something had changed. Farah had encountered the living God and what she had once wanted desperately now paled in comparison. In her words “whether or not I leave (to join her husband) I will be happy because God has changed my life from the inside and my faith in God has changed. Now I want to share the stories and peace I have with everyone.”
This is what it means to give up that which we love, for that which we love more. Farah experienced the truth of the living God, that when you have Him you need nothing else. Of course Farah still loves her husband. Of course she still wants, desperately, to be with him. But even more than that she wants to hold on to her new faith, her relationship with a living God, and share it with all those around her. Christ’s greatest desire has become hers: that people would know and make him known on the earth.
The One We Love
Could this very principle be what Jesus meant when he said we must hate our mothers and fathers, sisters, spouses, and children (Luke 14:26)? Not that we would hate them with the human emotion of hatred but that we would love Christ with everything we are and everything we have; so much so that any other love we feel looks like hate in comparison. Here at GCM, we believe that truth and therefore it is our honor to give up that which we love for the One we love even more.