lessons from an older brother

It was a long bus ride from Pittsburgh to Indy, especially when it started at 2 in the morning.  By the time I was seeing the city, it was about 10, and I was more than ready to get off of the bus.  So I made my way into the bus station.  I was looking for a bathroom and dragging my suitcase behind me, trying to remember if I had crossed a time zone or not.

And then I heard my name.  I turned around, because who else in this place that I've never been before would know my name except Tim, who was coming to meet me?  I hadn't seen him in six months, and the last time was in the airport in Xiamen.  He took my suitcase out to the car while I found the bathroom (and after I had smashed my face into his shoulder; apparently trying to hug someone and hand them luggage and speak in two languages at once and not cry does not really work) and then he took me home.  

I was there for only a few days before I caught another bus for Texas, but it was plenty of time to think -- especially as I prepare to go back to China.  I'm an oldest child.  He's been teaching me what having an older brother means.  I've been learning a lot about what it means to be a younger sister of Christ; too often I bring my "oldest child mentality" into how I see everything in life and miss out on what is good about not being the oldest.

It takes a lot of fear and uncertainty out of going to unknown places, like Indy or China.  If Tim, who I know and trust has been there, why should I worry about it?  It increases my confidence.

It means that I am much more likely to love and to want to love what I find.  I'm more likely to assume that there must be something good, something worth loving.  Tim gets excited about China, about airports, about tons of stuff that I wouldn't on my own -- but his eagerness to find out about things, and to experience them, encourages me to be eager.

And I was thinking about these things and how it is teaching me about what it means to follow Jesus.

He knows everything that I am going through, everything that I will face, far better than anyone else does.  The book of Hebrews makes a clear point that He is a sympathetic high priest because He was made incarnate and suffered more than I ever have.  And the author of Hebrews tells me that such is my reason for confidence as I approach even the throne of God.

It also means that I have a reason to love this world, the people in it -- everything -- fully and joyfully and sacrificially.  Because obviously, there's something worth loving.

    For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
(Romans 8:15-18)


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