"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24, 25)
As I was preparing to preach on Matthew 16: 24, 25, my mind whirled back to only a few weeks ago when I'd to travel outside my home country and leave Christine, Paul, and Angel for a while. We underwent a very trying time together for many months since last year. So, I sensed that it may not be a right time yet to travel. I was torn between a strong impulse to stay with them and fly away to serve God in another place even for a brief time.
When I was already in the airplane to leave, I still struggled and thought of them. Flashing through my mind was, "If only they could be with me!" They're still too young to miss Dad and Mom. Tears were blinked back. But I felt the Lord has willed for me to go for a while. Not only for them -- but also for myself. God wants to take better care of me and them! For my God is their God too - who never forsakes them whether we're together or not.
I relearned from this "loss" that the greatest transactions with God take place when we are alone. Unfamilar airports. Strange language and culture. Stranger food. New faces. Yes, there could be moments of loneliness for me in an unfamiliar place. But it is during these moments when I felt alone that my dependence on God comes into greater focus. It is then that Jesus' words -- "I will never leave you nor forsake you" and "Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me" -- in the Gospels take on real meaning. This is then when the Lord does come and meets all my needs -- spiritual, emotional, mental, and material.
Soon, I'd be with Christine, Paul, and Angel again. Gains through loss by being alone with God and more trusting of Him! God is preparing new, bright beginnings for us ...