I am enamored with the great life of Gladys Aylward.
(If you aren’t familiar with her story, here is the short, 3 minute version: A short history of Gladys Aylward.)
I would love to be great like Gladys Aylward. She ran The Inn of the Sixth Happiness in Yangchen, China where hundreds heard the name of Jesus for the first time. She helped end foot binding, single-handedly stopped a prison riot, and saved over 100 children during a war by taking them on a dangerous mountainous journey out of China. Gladys was an amazing women who did great things for God.
But here’s the trouble with Gladys: her life was difficult, very difficult. Gladys did not enjoy or seek the same things many of us do — a spouse, a beautiful home, a comfortable life, vacations, money, time to herself. God placed a deep burden on her for China, and she climbed difficult mountains, figuratively and literally, until she had done what God asked.
Recently, God has placed a deep burden on me for children in foster care. And while I want to be great like Gladys, I am wrestling with the fact that doing what God asks will be a difficult life. Am I willing to give up a comfortable life, vacations, and time to myself to accomplish the plans God has for me? Am I willing to have a life that may be full of trouble and difficulty?
And of course, as it would go, this was my Bible reading this morning: . .
“. . . whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
So today I am reminded that we are all called to be great, but greatness won’t come with my house being perfectly put together and lots of time to myself. The greatness God offers all of us comes from serving and giving up a life of seeking comfort for a life that may be filled with difficulty and trouble.
Yet again, I’m inspired by the great life of Gladys Aylward:
“If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you… remember it is God who has called you and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.”
So called I will go, even if it brings trouble.