Nathan has been traveling to a certain country for a couple of years now that’s a little more risky than other places. A few months ago, there was a workshop in that country to start several new projects, and he really needed to be there. He made some creative preparations to be able to travel differently than the norm. But our organization was concerned because things were happening politically and the travel risk was heightened. The workshop was just days away, and the whole process of not knowing if he would go or even should go was tough for me. Of course safety was a huge concern, but on the other hand there was this country where he’d already been working years and spent many hours investing in the work. It was hard to believe that God wouldn’t want him to continue.
While we were praying and considering this, we received word that the border he was planning to walk across with the neighboring country had been closed by the government after some people were shot there. I spent a lot of time waiting for God to speak a clear yes or no, but it didn’t feel like God was saying anything.
One Sunday during all of this I started feeling particularly antsy. Maybe because many people at church were asking me the plan and it was just particularly hard to not know. That day we sang a song called “Jesus is Better”. We got to a point in the song where we sang “Than any comfort, Jesus is better. Make my heart believe.” At that point, God was pretty straight with me. He said, “Katy, am I better than any comfort of this world? Am I better than the comfort of knowing the plan, the comfort of having your husband home with you, the comfort of not sending him to a hard place? Does your heart truly believe that Jesus is better? Does it want to believe?” If that weren’t enough, our pastor got up and closed the service with part of 2 Timothy 4. “But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.”
FULLY. I had to release Nathan to fully carry out the ministry God had given him. And I had to be ready to carry out the ministry that was given to me–to stay here in the chaos that would unfold with these three kids and rely on Jesus, knowing and trying hard to believe that he is better than any comfort in this world. I knew in my head that Jesus was better, and I began to pray that my heart would believe too. I didn’t know then if Nathan would actually be going on the trip, but mainly I felt certain I was being asked to be willing to send him. And somehow this little conversation with God helped relieve some of my uncertainty.
Nathan did not end up going on that trip. Our organization ultimately decided that it wasn’t safe at that time, and the work would have to be done in other creative ways. But I’ve gone back often to that moment of God speaking to me in church that day. There are a lot of days where I need to be reminded that Jesus is better than anything he might ask me to give up. Better than the comfort of having Nathan home with us. Jesus is worth a travel risk. He’s better than having enough money to make decisions with financial ease. And yes, Jesus is even worth the tears my youngest cries when she says goodbye to her daddy. That situation in your life that is so hard for your family or that thing that you struggle to find joy in can turn into your gift to Jesus. Just tell him that you are okay with that hard thing, because you know that he’s better. That he means so much more to you than that thing does. Just keep praying that he will make your heart believe.