“Well, Lord, at least I know that you would never call me to live in Minnesota.” I remember praying these words while in grad school as Carolyn (my wife) and I were starting to discuss where we would settle down after graduation.
Seven years earlier, I had left my beloved West Virginia, seeking adventure in the Great American Midwest, never dreaming that I was leaving the Mountain State for good. While at Wheaton College, I met the Minnesota Girl of my dreams, and was surprised to discover that she didn’t want to settle down in a log cabin on a secluded mountain (with our 7 dogs) – who wouldn’t want that???
I decided that, if we didn’t end up living in the Appalachians, at least we needed to live within a day’s drive – it was a non-negotiable. Although I really liked Minnesota, it was just too far away. I couldn’t face the possibility of raising our children far removed from my beloved family. The idea seemed a whole lot like dying.
But then a verse grabbed ahold of me and just wouldn’t let go. Jesus said, “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 6:25). I gradually realized that, since Christ died for me, He could ask me to do anything. If I tried to hold on to my dreams, I would lose everything. I decided to trust Christ and follow His lead to Minnesota.
Now, thirteen years later, I love the life that God has given me here. Still, Jesus keeps calling me to die to desires that seem like needs. Dying is never easy, and in many situations, there’s still no happy ending in sight. But He will be faithful to His promise, and as we lose our lives, we will find life in Him.