How do you look into the eyes of a mother who just lost her child and tell her that there is hope? How do you see 40 people wanting medical attention and pick the most severe 6 to get in your car and leave the rest behind? How do you look at a little baby and know they won’t make it through the night? How do you tell your alcoholic night guard no to some of the simplest things of life, knowing it is for his good?
Hard things give Jesus glory a chance to show through. He is ALWAYS enough. If I don’t ask for hard, and ask for Him to take over every portion of my life, I’m missing out on His radiant glory.
The drippings of His love are even more than we could ask for. These little fragments of his plan with a bigger picture in mind. We think we deserve more. And we try and earn more. Here he is again. In the hard. In the unfair, unjust, irreconcilable. He’s here. When life begs a thousand questions, we have ten thousand reasons to say why we are blessed. And in the dirt we are humbled. Humbled to the point of losing ourselves, of truly placing aside all identity and seeking the center and the heart of the one who breathes life. Abundant life. And when we ought be overcome–we are not. Does not He who watches out for the tiny sparrow also have full control of our lives and my futures? So I wait, and when patience is lacking and fears are rising, and disgratitude abounds and doubt clouds my mind I find myself searching and seeking yet again.
Can we not live here, and now? In this? And soak up the glory that comes from hiding in the shadow of His wing. Rest on the fact that he is taking me where we go, and its not about where we end up, because life ends in a box under some soil. Its about the refining moments while we get there.
Our righteous acts are like filthy rags, No one strives to lay hold of you. Yet you are our Father, we are the work of your hand.” Is.64:6
We are unworthy of even the crumbs of His table, and yet we feast with the King.
Yesterday, we were walking through the slum of the town and were waiting on a friend to bring her baby for some medical care. I was tired of holding a three year old, hungry, dehydrated and my shirt covered in flour and my feet were covered in sewage and all I could think about was the sun beating down when this old man stumbled down to us. He asked me if I would “please be my friend.” I obliged, hesitantly, not knowing how to begin to relate. He asked why we could be friends. I didn’t know how else to say it other than we were the same. This man sitting in wholly, tattered pants and rubber shoes, intoxicated and making himself cozy in the dirt. We’re the same. What separates me from him? Why wouldn’t I be his friend? I wish more than anything I could go back and sit under a mango tree with him and hear about his life. He questioned and questioned and was perplexed to see that we could be friends. He rattled off a list of reasons why he suspected we could not be the same. My other friend who was standing there assured him that yes, even if he was an alcoholic, even if he had no money, even if we barely could communicate, even we seemed worlds apart, even if…he was still loved and we served the same God. In Him we are all the same.
Even if the baby is crying, and there are wounds that need dressing and lunch was never made and I just don’t even know what I’m doing with my life in general. Even if your family is dysfunctional on such a level that it seems incomprehensible, even in the midst of rebellion and addiction and sin. Even in the midst of Satan’s attacks, in selfishness, in pain, in brokenness. Especially in brokenness. In our dirt and filthiness when we should beg of Him, instead He begs that we come to sit at his feet, that He may cleanse us. He longs to cleanse. It’s not “even if,” it’s especially if.
6 weeks today. I’m already dreading the day I have to leave. Visitors from home. Little white flour handprints. Babies dressed in new clothes. Momma of baby doing dishes. “Shredded” letters. Banana bread and sweet conversation over mixing bowls. Thinking your about to get out of the car and laughing for two hours just to put life on hold for a minute. Blood typing. Science lessons about the “Jesus Lizard” that walks on water. A rendition of my favorite song in church. Changing the words to children’s rhymes. Flip flops stuck in sewage. Medical supplies in flour bags. Picnics by the sunflowers. Full moon casting its reflection along the Nile river, peeking out behind the palm trees. New baby skin. HIV testing. Pushing the stroller by the Nile river. Letters from home that make me laugh and laugh and laugh. Jesus extravagant love. Friendships formed over bouncing along over potholes. Relationships that are not bound by a three way language barrier. Clothes on a line. Dance parties after pizza. Bubble gum stuck on little fingers. Jesus extravagant love.
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. 1 John 4:7
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of Godthat is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
You can’t escape it. Even if.