I started reading the Gospel of John again. His narrative is so full, and I’m finding I still have to read each line multiple times, mining in God’s Word. At the end of the first chapter, Jesus calls His first disciples. First, two followers of John the Baptist begin to follow Him. Jesus asks them what they seek, and they inquire about where He is staying.
“Come, and you will see.”
Later, Jesus decides to go to Galilee and finds Philip.
“Follow Me,” He says.
Philip finds Nathaniel and tells Him about finding the long awaited Messiah, that His name is Jesus, of Nazareth. Nathaniel is skeptical, asking, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
“Come and see.”
I remember the Lord using this passage when we were first thinking about Ireland. Jesus made no promises to these fishermen about security or comfort, not even a pitch about how great the adventure would be. No brochure or video about the healing or miracles they’d witness, no warnings about the heartache and persecution. He only asked them to follow. To come, and see.
And though these men were waiting for this promised Savior, they did have lives – jobs and families and communities they were a part of, security and control over their day to day. It may have seemed like this sudden decision to follow Jesus was irresponsible, irrational even. Why would they leave what they knew, the path they could see, and trade it for the unknown?
The thing is, they did know one thing. And this one thing, if true, warranted this incredibly high risk. Somehow they knew – this was the Christ. Jesus was the Messiah. And it didn’t matter what excitement or darkness lie ahead, the cost of staying was greater than that of following Him.
The Bible doesn’t say these men took time to weigh out this monumental decision. No pros and cons list, no lengthy discussions with family recorded. Maybe if we could see Jesus Himself, hand extended, inviting us to come with Him, we wouldn’t hesitate either.
For our family though, that wasn’t the case. It took what seemed like a long time to decide to come to Ireland, much longer for Branden than for myself. The Lord told me right away, that he was calling us here. He didn’t tell Branden as quickly; He was working out so much in our hearts. And so Branden talked about every risk, every possible consequence of taking such a big leap if it wasn’t from the Lord. And though my heart was already on the island, I could understand what he was saying.
We would give up all we knew, any security we thought we had, proximity to family and friends and the community we loved, and go. We would have to say, like the disciples did, that Jesus – who He is, no promises of more and guarantee of nothing less – is enough.
Well, it’s been a year on the mission field in Ireland, and the overwhelming feeling is of gratitude.
There have been challenges absolutely, days of feeling the distance from family and friends and home. We’ve dealt with health issues, being overwhelmed learning to live in a new country and still functioning some in the other, just growing into this unique place of being missionaries. But the Lord has been incredibly gracious and good to us!
We have found another home in Ireland, a place with sweet fellowship and community with like minded believers, many with a hard fought, undeniable faith and a genuine love for God’s Word. There is a need here in ministry and the Lord is using us to be a part of discipleship and reaching kids and families with His life changing Good News! And He has been faithful.
Jesus never said to follow an idea or philosophy, a set of rules or group of people. He said to follow Him, which means He intends to be with us. And so He has been. And perhaps that’s what shuts the mouth of fear, when what’s unknown seems to grow and skew our perspective again. He is with us.
And the future? Well, I’m convinced, it will always be in the “Come, and see.” One and then the other.
Sometimes I’m like Nathaniel, skeptical of Him and so sure of whatever else I know. But if I come, with a willingness to see, Jesus will show me – great things, things I would never see otherwise, but even more, Jesus reveals Himself!
And truly, what could compare to that?
You might be tempted to think it’s different for you and me, that we’re here and not where you are. But the call is the same for us all, and so is the promise.
Follow Him. Come, and see!
Photo Credit: Timothy James Post Work/Editing: Ernie Treu