I’m Leaving My Wife And Kids
Yes, I hate to admit it but it’s true. I know that will disappoint many of you. I’m sorry. But given the circumstances, I felt like I should do the honorable thing and tell it to my audience personally. I didn’t want you hearing it via the rumor hotline or from some secondhand source. I decided it would be better to just be honest and upfront about the whole thing. So, there you have it. On October 04, I am packing my bags, telling my wife and children good-bye, and walking out the door… for a 10-week semester of independent study at Oxford University in England.
At some point today that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I swear that I literally felt the emotional weight of it. And for the very first time it became real. In less than six weeks I will have to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I will have to walk away from my family in order to continuing pursue this Divine dream.
I know. Some of you are probably thinking to yourself, “Big crybaby.” Yes, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Yes, it’s a dream come true for me personally. Yes, it’s an unbelievable privilege. And I am both excited and grateful for this chance to do something extraordinary at a time in my life when most of my peers are starting to entertain thoughts of retirement. I’m blessed beyond measure. I have been the recipient of an undeserved and unmerited Divine favor. God has given to me exceedingly above and beyond all that I asked or even imagined possible.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to cost me something.
And I guess that’s the point of this blog today. It’s easy to “talk” about chasing your dreams. It’s easy to talk about attempting the improbable and trusting God for the impossible. Talk is cheap. We all know that to be true. But it becomes a whole different ballgame when there is a cost involved. That’s usually when all the “talk” ends and the separation point becomes reality. We all want the dream. But so many times we stop short when we see the cost.
I’m not going to lie. I’m a homebody. I love my wife. I love my children. I love being at home with them. Having to leave them behind here in the U.S. is going to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. (And that’s coming from a guy who spent 20 years of his life living and working in the ghetto.) I’d rather do just about anything. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. But this is where His path has led and this is the door He has opened. And so, I will follow Him even though it is going to be beyond difficult.
At times like this I am reminded of some of the people in the Bible. (No, I am not comparing myself to them. Just using their stories to make a point). Abraham had to leave his home. Jacob was forced to leave his father. Joseph was separated from his family. Moses was forced to flee from the only home he had ever known. Ruth left her people behind in Moab. Samuel watched his mother walk off into the distance. David was called out from amongst his brothers. Are you sensing a common theme developing here? It’s amazing to me how many times in the Bible that someone’s relationship with their family became the turning point in their lives. It’s not that God necessarily called them to abandon their familial loyalty or responsibility. But they were each challenged to make a difficult choice. Would they follow God even if it meant temporarily (maybe even permanently) giving up their family?
I know that sounds insane on the surface. But think about it. Even the very Son of God was not exempt from such a time of separation in His own life. He literally left His heavenly home to come live among us. He walked away from His family to fulfill His calling. His own brothers questioned His sanity. He told His followers, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Those are His words, not mine. And finally, on that glorious day on the cross He experienced that moment of ultimate separation when He became our propitiation.
So, what’s my point? Two things, I guess. First of all, I just wanted to remind us that God requires everything of us. He must have the place of preeminence in our lives. That means He comes first, even before family. Over the years, I’ve met far too many people who compromised their convictions and calling because of their family. God comes before family. Secondly, dreams always come at a great personal cost. Never forget that truth. A lot of people dream of doing “great things” for God. But when they see the cost they freeze at the very threshold and the dream slowly begins to die by degrees. I’m not telling you to give up on dreaming. I’m just reminding you to “count the cost.” For me that cost is 10 weeks without my family. But given all that I know and all that I have experienced I have no other option. And I really wouldn’t want it any other way. God has given me everything. How can I withhold from Him anything… even my family?