I’m not sure how I was introduced to Gloria Furman. Maybe my sister Julie again? Gloria and her husband Dave are missionaries in Dubai. I guess they are both my inspirational people for the day!
About ten years ago, Dave developed a nerve disorder that renders both of his arms essentially useless. He continues to work as a missionary, raise his four children, and preach the Gospel in the Middle East.
I love that. If it were me, and I had developed some nerve disorder while serving overseas, I would undoubtedly have quit. Like, what are you thinking, God? Throw me a bone, here! I’m serving you! Why are you making it harder?
In his book, “Being There: How To Love Those Who Are Hurting,” Dave describes the dramatic shift in his life – from playing football and rafting, to not being able to lift a cup to his lips if he’s thirsty. “I can count on one hand the number of times I have picked up and held each of my babies,” he says.
He describes the depression, anger, and humiliation he felt in those early years of missionary work, when the pain and incapacity to do NORMAL THINGS were overtaking his life.
While I’m sure there were, and are, moments of frustration, Dave and Gloria are undoubtedly Gospel-centered people. Their words – in all of their books and blog posts and excerpts I’ve read – are deeply rooted in some foundation truths:
- We exist to glorify God. That one end – and not pleasure, or popularity, or happiness – is why we exist.
- When we are weak, we are strong.
- We must live with eternity in mind, and not get distracted by lesser troubles or pleasure.
What is fascinating to me about Dave, Gloria and their family is the dichotomy between how ordinary and yet unordinary they are.
They are so unlike me. Gloria, buckling her husband into his seatbelt, tying his shoes, herding their family of six to a Christian church in the middle of desert Dubai to make disciples. Me, getting flustered at an extra-long red light.
Yet, despite the many external differences, they are fighting the same fight we are. The fight to choose joy, to “keep eternity stamped on our eyeballs,” (a favorite phrase of Gloria), to love those around us well, to make an eternal difference, to see the deep and meaningful value in the long, mundane hours of parenthood.
If you want a taste of Gloria, I love this article entitled “10 Things You Should Know About Motherhood.” Gloria’s introduction on her blog says, “I’m Gloria. I want to be obsessed with what I’m going to be obsessed with three zillion years from now—seeing and savoring Jesus.” Love.
Be sure to check out Dave’s book – I think it is relevant for all of us.
Dave and Gloria, I don’t know you. But thank you. You’re doing a thousand things like me today, and a thousand different. But we are family. Thank you for taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Thank you for using your struggles (we all have them) to remind us that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
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