“I would like to go to India.” There, I said it. I possibly could have found a way to ease into it a little, but I am too tightly wound. After all, this is my future we are discussing. “As a missionary.” I look at my parents. “I seek your blessing.”
Mother and Father stand there dumbfounded, exchanging speaking glances only they can understand. I am old enough to make my own decisions, but I wish to honour them also. Without their blessing, I will not be able to sail in comfort of soul.
Father clears his throat. He is clearly shaken. “Son, I would like to talk to your mother about this, alone, for a while.”
I swallow the lump in my throat. I fear their answer will not endorse my desire. Father in Heaven, not my will but Yours. I have to remind myself He is almighty. “Yes, Father,” I nod. “I shall wait in the drawing room.”
I pace up and down, up and down, and imagine their exchange. “He has been reading too much about William Carey,” I can hear Mother say.
“And listening to the missionary society and their proselytising.” Father adds. They know how I have studied the missionaries.
I can envisage Mother pleading with Papa. “You cannot allow him to go to that God-forsaken place. Does he not know it is filled with pagan worship?”
As though I would make a decision so lightly, without any knowledge of my destination. Ah, but to bring change to such a lost race, to show them the gospel of Christ. The joy of such must be beyond the risk.
I picture my father with his brows furrowed in concern. “Do not worry, my love, he is our son. He is strong.”
“But, James, what about the education you gave him? He was going to practise law. Will you let him disregard all you have done for him?”
I know this kind of argument would sway him. “Perhaps, you have a point, my dear.”
Mother would gain confidence and push her point further. “He has a new wife. What of her? Will he subject her to such a life, raising children amongst heathens?”
Would Papa’s faith rise up? “Just suppose, though, that God has truly called him to the mission field.”
“Would God take our son away?” I can almost hear the tears in her voice. “We will never see him again.”
“Thelma, are you not being too severe? Of course, we shall see him again.”
I suppose at this point, Mama would become rather impassioned. “No we shan’t! You know as well as I do very few missionaries ever return. We will be sending him to his death. Malaria, dysentery, violence by natives, he stands no chance.”
I close my eyes and squeeze them tight. If she makes this argument, my vision will be undone. But by the grace of God, I might survive. Lord, let them see my desire through Your eyes. Even if I should die. Can I say I have lived if I do not live as I am compelled—to take the gospel to those who know Him not? I let out my breath slowly. It is in His hands.
The drawing room door opens slowly and my parents enter. I note the tearful gaze of my mother. Even Papa appears a little sentimental.
“Sorry to keep you waiting so long, Son.” Father gives me a somewhat sheepish grin.
Mother dabs her eyes and nods. “We were rather surprised by your request, to say the least.”
I wish to blurt out all my arguments, defend my cause and insist they give me their blessing. I open my mouth. “I...”
“You see,” Papa continues before I get very far. “Your mother and I have been praying about the mission fields. It has been a burden on our hearts for a long while.”
“It has?” I am taken aback.
Mother comes to me and clasps my hands. She smiles up at me with beautiful swimming eyes. “We were planning to come and seek your blessing. We feel the Lord is calling us to India.”
It is my turn to stand there dumbfounded. Then a laugh forces its way out of my chest. I would never have anticipated this outcome. I pull Mother into an embrace and throw a wink to my father. “We shall go together then.”
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