Take a look at this family. Now, I don’t know them, and all I can tell you about them is what the good Mrs Harding has so eruditely scribed, and what can be deduced by looking at the photograph: Missionary family; moved out to a far-flung foreign country with small children; had one (or two?) children out there; devoted to the community they were working with. This is the stuff of missionary families, those who love God so much, they’ll up sticks and move across the glove to follow Him, wherever He leads, however strange His guidance seems.
There is something so refreshing about the Butlers story, one I’ve heard so many times before (Lisa & Byron are a great current example). I have childhood friends who spent half their young lives in Indonesia, and know others raising their kids and following their Lord in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America… You can’t live in the Christian world for long without coming across these strange people, who make life decisions such as this. And you come across them so frequently, that after a while it becomes so blessedly normal.
This is the normal Christian life: giving up your security, your comfort, to follow Jesus wherever He may lead you. Believing that His vision for this world, for your life, is more important than the norms of our society. It’s the type of life that Andrea and I want to lead (although at present we see that in terms of sacrificial living here in the UK, we are quite prepared to travel across the globe if asked). Its normal.
And yet you can’t escape the weirdness of it in the eyes of everyone around us, including a large proportion of Christians. “Surely you should at least wait until your children are older”, “You can’t bring your kids up away from other children like them”, “Isn’t it about time you got a proper job?!?”
Father, bless the Butlers and lead them on to where you would have them next. Refresh them, feed them, and help them to enjoy stopping for a while. And Lord, give us courage to live differently, to take those hard decisions. To step out and follow you.