Since my dad fell ill with advanced prostate cancer back in January, I have known that a trip to my birth country was awaiting me.
Let me give you a quick insight into the faith of my home country: Tradition! About 85% of the population are members of the official church of Denmark which is the Protestant Lutheran church. However, less than 5% has accepted Jesus as their personal savior and actually lives and raises their kids in the Christian faith. The church is where people go to have a child baptized (infant baptism), proclamation of faith (mainly done because it’s expected and tradition) and for the romantic style wedding and eventually, the funeral.
My family members are no different. My dad, despite his mom being a believer, never wanted anything to do with Jesus. I was raised in this environment where Christianity gives a good guideline as to how to live, but Jesus was just a guy who spoke well and they crucified Him because that was how they killed people back then, who spoke against the system! My family hasn’t changed much in this regard. Touch the subject of God’s existence and you get a load full of science desperately trying to prove God does not exist and really; You are just too stupid if you think your ancestors had the names of Adam and Eve; We are monkeys, all right!?! *sigh*.
It’s been about 5 years since I was in Denmark last and back then I didn’t know Jesus. Now that the trip is planned and passports are ready – I have to emotionally prepare myself to face family and friends. Have I changed during those 5 years? Absolutely. Not only by living in a totally different environment but certainly inwards by Christ’s residence in my heart. Therefore, in some ways, I see my birth country or perhaps rather my family, as my own Nineveh. And just like Jonah, I have been wanting to run away from this… Because I know the mocking, the raised eyebrows, the poking remarks etc that will flow from the lips of my loved ones.
When the thought first dawned on me I literally went “Wait, what? Me going to Nineveh?… No way Lord!…” I have been praying my fear, because that is really what this all boils down to, up to the Lord asking for His peace and strength. I… still… do… not… want… to… go… As much as I want to see my dad again, my fear has been prevalent in my heart. Fear of falling back into old ways and the fear of the mockery and the fear of being alone with a child in a 100% totally secular environment (yes, totally).
The other morning while sipping coffee with Jesus, I asked Him to take away the fear. But instead He spoke this verse:
1 Peter 4:3-5: “You have spent enough time in the past doing what the heathen like to do. Your lives were spent in indecency, lust, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and the disgusting worship of idols. And now the heathen are surprised when you do not join them in the same wild and reckless living, and so they insult you. But they will have to give an account of themselves to God, who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
The Lord knows my life story… He knows how I made it through school and my teens and my young life in the nightclubs and my young adult life and – not such a God honoring story! This verse speaks His truth; I did that long enough, now my family will be surprised and they will insult me. But I need to remember that God will judge as they will one day give an account of their lives. Amen.
My fear isn’t gone, but I guess this was God’s way of telling me to shape up, trust Him more and set my eyes on what is eternal. I sure don’t want to end up in the belly of any type of large fish!