Tuesday, October 09, 2007

BJ's ashes rest under this stone cairn, high atop the mountains of North Africa.
Our culture teaches us to be proud of our accomplishments.
Growing up I worked very hard for a couple of trophies. At a young age, I bowled and played baseball, and found myself on quality teams that won championships. Later, I ran cross country. The Lord blessed me with a large lung capacity, and I was able to push on when others could not. The results were many meet wins and even a state championship.
I remember how proud my parents were of me. I remember hearing talk among coaches , friends and family of the Olympics. I remember thinking they were talking about someone else. As my success grew, my interest waned.
When I tore cartilage in my knee during practice, it came down to two choices (in that day). Run with pain, or don't run at all. I ultimately chose to stop running competitively. Many were disappointed in me.
I struggled with being too proud, during those years. I did not like the feeling. I had been taught to take pride in my Savior, but my experience was making that hard to do.
All that is in our culture presses us to excel for the sake of self and all that can be attained. One can gain glory and perhaps even fame and/or riches if you are 'good enough.'
Our children participated in youth sports. BJ played soccer and t-ball and swam on a club team. Later in high school he would play soccer and wrestle. He was an average athlete. He did not participate for personal glory. As a matter of fact, he did not even enjoy these sports that much (other than swimming).
A large part of his involvement was so he would have a larger platform from which to share Christ.
When we heard from him while he was away serving in missions, the thing he wanted to talk about was not, what God was doing through him personally...though we pleaded for that information. He would talk about his incredible team and their obedience. He would talk about what God was calling him to do next.
Following Christ in obedience was more important than personal glory to him. His last summer in Peru, we begged him to tell us of what God was doing. All he wanted to discuss was that he was 'called to North Africa' the following summer. He was very excited about what was ahead as he sought the Lord's will.
He knew he was being used, and would share stories when there was plenty of time. If there was only time for a few words, he generally would tell you about what was next in serving.
As you may recall, we believed he would beat the infectious disease with the Lord's help, as we knew he was called to North Africa.
As it turned out, his calling was our calling. We needed to follow the Lord where He was leading, even though we did not want to go. We went, we served, and we took part of him with us. We had a worship service beseeching the Lord to return to the land that was desolate and without many believers. We left Beej's ashes under a stone cairn high above many villages. To us, it was symbolic of the hope in Christ that would return to this land.
BJ followed the Lord in radical obedience no matter what the cost. He was called to Africa. Just not the way we expected.
It can be so hard to step outside of our comfort zones, drop our accomplishments for His sake, and follow where He leads. As we surrender to Him, He enables us to do so. For many of us, we must first open our hands to release the comforts we cling to.


At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing story. I first found about BJ in a most unique way. I was at school (junior college) wasting time in the computer lab. In waisting time (yes I know, a sermon in itself), I was looking at the web pages previous users visited. I seen prayforbj.com and I was intrigued. I dont remember the exact date, but young BJ was about two weeks into his hospital stay. My heart has since been compelled almost daily to see how God is moving in this world around me. It is amazing to see how one family (using that term generally as there was many "one man" amazing vessels in the Bible God has used) has impacted so many others. I have continued to express my gratitude by sharing what God is doing here with others. Friends, family and church family are all aware prayforbj.com is a house hold name in my home.

I understand there was nothing significant about this boy. We all have the opportunity to live a life as pleasing as BJ's... the difference between him and most is HE ACCEPTED THE CALL. I feel another sermon coming on here... Many feel they have accepted God's call on their lives, but dont grasp the concept of fully dieing out to self and surrendering EVERYTHING to the will of God. In this age, so many want "proof" to cling to, so I give them prayforbj.com. If you need proof it can be done- I have found it, it is in BJ Higgins.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment above me. Proof is found in this young man's life, and his family, and all that was left after he is gone. It's sad to think we won't see him till Jesus comes again, but we know he will be there. I have hope that he will be there. I feel God calling me, and I so desperately want to answer, but my parents keep me back. I can't talk to them about what God wants me to do. I guess I'll just pray for God to show me. He's done so much for me, and everyone else out there, for which most don't notice, but I know he's calling me, and many tohers for his service. God will show me away, and I think it had begun last year. I jsut got to see toward the furture and concentrate on God. God bless you, Higgin's family. I pray for you everyday. May God use you in every way, and that BJ wil be remembered, not of wordly things, but of how you influences us to be more like Christ. It wasn't about BJ, but about God.
Love, Leslie.


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