- You made no difference in France.
- Why did you go?
- Your family went for nothing.
- Your life didn’t count there for Jesus.
- The church you left behind has already forgotten about you.
- Your mission agency sees you as an afterthought.
Terrible words, yes. But words that strangle my heart. I suppose it’s all a part of the grief of leaving friends and ministry and relationships behind. I know I should know better, taking those pesky thoughts captive like flies in a chopstick vice in the hands of the Karate Kid. Captive. Problem is, what does one do with captive thoughts? Skewer them? But what if they come back, more insistent?
This little, old song is playing in my head right now, and perhaps it’s the key: “I woke up this morning with my mind just staying on Jesus.”
Jesus who takes everything and makes something beautiful. Out of ashes, he draws a charcoal masterpiece. Out of tears, he makes exotic perfume. Out of failure, he breeds character.
Heather wrote Jesus’ words to me. I am not forgotten. Patrick is not forgotten. My three children are not forgotten. We made a Jesus-shaped DeMuth dent in France, maybe just the tiniest one, but one nonetheless. Everything we do, when done for the smile of the Almighty, counts.
Maybe that’s why patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Maybe it’s that our lives count in an invisible way. We need patience to wait for streets of gold to see the impact our lives had in this shoddy earth. Maybe this side of eternity I won’t know. But I can trust. And hope. And train myself to know that nothing is wasted in God’s surprising economy.
Today I give Heather’s words to you as a Sabbath gift.