The Pain of Separation

( [email protected] ) Oct 23, 2003 11:39 AM EDT

Jesus said, "Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

-Matthew 10:37 (NIV)

"MUMMY, I miss you a lot. When I lie down on my bed, I start to think that I have no parent. ..." I lay on the couch with my youngest daughter's letter in my hands. Though she went on to say, "Please don't worry about us. We are fine," her pain stabbed me like a dagger. My young children had been denied visas to the United States. Yet I loved my ministry and the course I wanted was not offered in seminaries at home. I had been given a tuition-waiver and a scholarship for living expenses. It was a rare opportunity for my church in Nigeria and a precious one for me.

For a whole year, I had struggled with the heart-rending decision before finally deciding to come without the children. Yet once again, I found myself questioning: Should I have taken such a step? Then the passage in Matthew 10:37 came to my mind.

I thought about Jesus' struggle in Gethsemane and how painful obedience was for him. I also thought about friends who encourage me, reassurance I receive from God's word, the Lord's care and protection, and the knowledge that God loves my children even more than I do. That knowledge helped me to continue in my studies.