Kingdom over comfort

houseview

Back at the turn of the year, we shared a blog post that talked about our desire for a lifestyle that more unconditionally reflects our convictions.

After much prayer – thanks to everyone who has supported us through our prayer updates – and after much discussion, and, ultimately, just deciding to take the plunge through our uncertainty, we have made the decision to move to Warrington and join Eden Latchford.

Every trip to Warrington has been hard work. Most of this has been because we’ve been constantly trying to process whether or not we want to move there. Underlying that has been something else. A little whisper almost, insistently reminding us that “its time to start doing this whole Christian thing properly”.

It’s unsettling, acknowledging a many-year feeling that we aren’t being as wholehearted as we wish to be. Helpfully, there are some bits of the Bible that give an idea what may be in store for people taking Jesus seriously:

For truly, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and you know. 1 Thessalonians 3:4

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:31

If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

Why bother then? As I found in a discussion with some of the youth at our church, it certainly seems like an odd decision. Their shock was refreshingly honest: “HAHAHA! What do you mean you are moving to a smaller house?! Why would you do that?!”

It’s a good question. Why would we do that?

Our answer is that we’ve been on a journey for many years, and the core of it has revolved around a feeling that we have missed the point. I believe in Jesus’ upside down Kingdom. I believe it is very near, that it is “at hand”. But, somehow, subtly, it’s still near, not here. I’m in a bubble of professing to love Jesus with all my heart, but I’m just slightly holding back…

“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.” Francis Chan, Forgotten God

We love Boston. We love our church here, our friends here – our move is not a comment on them at all. We definitely love our house here, with its massive garden, and summer house, and vegetable plot, and lovely kitchen, and room for an office. I suspect we love it too much, because we just don’t feel we can live like this with integrity any more. Because amidst the comfort, and the security, and our constant focus on us, we keep forgetting that almost none of it matters.

“I don’t want to be slumped in a recliner with a shrivelled soul, surrounded by things, saying “Wasn’t I meant to start living at some point?”” Simon Guillebaud

So we are stepping out. We are joining a team with a common purpose, and moving to a place where its just not possible to buy a house as nice as our current one. And we are going to commit ourselves, to our neighbours, to our streets,  to our schools; to seeing the Kingdom of God first hand, and being part of its outworkings.

The hardest question we’ve been asked? “What about your children?”. Its the hardest question to be asked, because its the same one we keep asking ourselves. Will our move disadvantage them? Probably, at least in some ways.

But the key answer is a question in response: Could staying hurt them too? I wish for nothing more than my children to know and experience Jesus in their lives. What better foundation for that than seeing your parents chose Kingdom over comfort?

So we move at the beginning of August. We’ve not sold our house yet – anyone want it? – but regardless, we are setting our hearts on what our loving Father has for us. And somehow, all these scary verses seem a bit less scary:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings. 1 Peter 12-13

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Here’s to weakness!

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