You know when you read a verse in the Bible and you sit there after feeling angry or confused by what you just digested? That is how I used to feel about this verse in Matthew.
“And everyone who has left houses, or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29
Why would God ask us to leave our families; the very ones he has given us to love, look after, spend time with, share life with? I honestly thought “there must be something messed up in translation…surely God would not ask someone to do such a thing.”
As we are preparing to leave for France in a few short weeks, it finally dawned on me (and maybe this seems too simple or like a “duh” moment) that WE are walking through this very thing right now and, although there is grief in the process, God is giving us grace and hope for what He has ahead.
We have left our house. It was a rental, yes, but we loved it. We had it set up cozy and had made many memories there. Our neighbors had become our family and our boys had a large yard for running around and playing wild.
We are leaving brothers and sisters back home… and all of the little cousins that our kids so adore. It is painful to think about the visits being further apart and their relationships being more distant than we had hoped. We are leaving the friends who have become our brothers and sisters, and their children, who our boys have grown up with and grown close to as well.
We are leaving fathers and mothers… All in varying situations of life, some with stressors and unsure steps ahead, some grieving loss and simultaneously discovering new gifts and recreations. Our parents have made such impacts on our lives from the time we first laid eyes on them and we are watching them continue to seek the Lord and trust Him in all of their different paths. (Need I mention that this means we are also leaving our boys’ beloved grandparents? Insert collective ugly-cry.)
We are leaving our land; the country and culture we were born into and that we know so well. We will be learning a new culture, a new language, a new way of life. Our children will have a heritage of growing up cross-culturally and will know more about the world than we did; we are praying that God would continue to help them in this transition, in language acquisition, in making new friends, in leaving all that they know behind.
But the verse continues… and it ends hopeful. “…(whoever is leaving these) for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”
We are doing all of this for the sake of His name; to see His name proclaimed throughout the earth and to tell others who have never heard of Him. (Amazing that there are still so many who are considered “unreached” and have not heard the sweet and powerful name of Jesus.)
And we have the promise of multiplication and eternal life. I don’t know that “receiving a hundredfold” means we will have all new family; new brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, although God continues to add to our family through His family. But, I do believe that our relationships, though far, will be stronger, our lives (when continually submitted to Him) will be more fruitful, and things that normally stay the same will shift and grow when we are walking in obedience to Him. We’ve seen this happen in our family when we are away and love watching God work even bigger things than we could imagine or produce ourselves. And eternal life! This is the filter and mindset we want to have all the time… it’s not about the here and now, it’s about the lasting and eternal. This life is fleeting (full of joys, grief, celebrations, hardships, stress and delights) and it is short. We want to make it count and follow closely to the Lord’s leading in ALL things, trusting that even when it is hard, “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10)
Thank you for your friendship, prayers and support!
- The Bells
Also, we had some friends and family request that we stay on social media because it is easier for them to stay connected with us via that platform as we transition overseas….sooo, you will still be able to find us on Facebook moving forward at CalebAmelia Bell and can Like, share, tag, Message, #, tweet, snapchat, Link, Youtube, Pin, Insta, Tumblr, Flickr, WhatApp, Vine, Periscope, etc. etc. etc.