This may be true outside of the mission field as well since everything is becoming global. Not too many people work in the city or state that they grew up in. Our careers, education or relationships move us to places we never imagined. On one hand, it is quite exciting to have a new life, new beginning. On the other hand, it inevitably brings unwanted changes as well. I don’t mean stress & pressure that come from transitioning to a new culture, new life because they are in a way given. They are expected.
Changes that I want to address are the ones that are more subtle in nature, but still can change our inner person & the way we go through life & love. I hope it’s insightful to the readers. I think I have expressed in the past blogs of the transient nature of missionary life because you are physically moving from one place to another. Right now we have no idea where God will take us after our first 2 years here, a time in which new OMF missionaries are sent to more permanent mission sites. It is to that end that we are being prepared right now. That means that others are also moving around us. This summer 2 families that we have grown quite fond of will be moving to 2 different rural areas in Taiwan to minister to the working class. I am truly excited for them, but at the same time, I am also saddened because we will miss them. It is the same phenomenon in our children’s school with children arriving & leaving as their families move. I am again reminded of how transient everything is.
Ever since I moved into my 30’s, I’ve been trying to open the eyes of people to how temporary life & everything in it is, but now as I am experiencing it with more awakened sensitivity, I’m beginning to understand why some who grew up or are in a transient environment like the military, global market place or mission field have a harder time opening themselves up fully & investing in deep relationships because why bother? They are going to leave anyway eventually.
Transience understood can lead us to meaninglessness that is if we remain there. Although the Bible speaks of transience of one’s physical life, material possession, self-glory & so forth, it doesn’t forget to let us know that for those who are in Christ transcendence awaits. The fact that this world, sin & death cannot hold us, but that perfect world illuminated by God’s glory is waiting for us is what puts meaning to our transience right now. Because of our transcendence through our faith in Jesus Christ, every experience, every relationship matters no matter the duration! In fact, our transcendence is what gives us the motivation & confidence to live & love freely because we know that nothing will be in vain.
This is what was exemplified by Jesus Christ. Even though He knew from the beginning that His time with His disciples would be short, and that it will even be paved with disappointments, it didn’t stop Him from giving Himself to them fully & sacrificially. Not only those 2-1/2, 3 years would change church history, His time with them will forever impact redemptive history.
Both transience & transcendence teach us that it’s not how much or how long you have, but who is at the center because it is only He who can put eternal value in our labor, in our prayers & every person we come to know. Therefore Jesus Christ is the only One who puts meaning to our eternal existence, but even to our transience now. How wonderful!