One of my best friends is a nurse in Africa. Day in a day out she works with children and adults infected by AIDS; she cares for them, educates them, and tries to be God’s ambassador of love. Juli is one of my heroes. Because of her sacrifice, countless lives will be saved.
Oftentimes when I look at my own life I’m amazed at the call God’s given me. It easy to feel that it’s inadequate compared with the burden that I imagine Juli bears. I work in a comfortable office, with wonderful people, who challenge me professionally and personally. My family has always lived within driving distance. My friends are never more than a phone call away. It’s easy to wonder if I’m missing something; if somehow I’ve missed out on what God asks of me because my life is filled to abundance.
The funny thing is if you ask Juli, she’d say her life is filled with abundance too. She once told me that people’s impression is that she’s suffering in Africa, but in reality, it’s her home. She loves what she does and although it can be challenging and brimming with despair, she knows that she’s where she’s supposed to be. Therefore, her calling, while unbearable to most, is a joy and comfort to her.
George MacDonald once challenged that while we think God’s work must be hard, what He’s promised is a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. MacDonald goes on to articulate that sometimes when we are so consumed with wondering what great sacrifice and burden God is going to call us to next, we focus on the future and lose sight of the “easy” work that He’s called us to today. We become ambivalent about doing the light tasks that He’s given us because we consider them of no great importance. We treat God’s call as insignificant because we are unaware of its value and its impact.
It’s easy to see the value of Juli’s call. Sometimes it’s harder to see the value of mine. But I’ve come to believe that what is expected of both of us is to do the work that God has given us to the best of our ability. I can no sooner dictate what the outcome of my work is than I could guess the impact of the life that Juli’s work saves. The reality is, whatever the impact, neither will be the result of mine or Juli’s efforts. It will be because of the work that God is doing. And He can just as easily use a girl in an office as He can a nurse in Kenya.