06 July 2014

You Said,

You said there would be joy in the laying down.
You said there would be joy in the letting go.
You said there would be joy in the giving up my life.
And now I see...
(Laura Hackett)

The Lord gave me a gift this morning. As I waited to board my bus to return to Nelspruit, Sean, a young blue eyed, blonde, in his late teens or early twenties, approached me. He was begging for food on this chilly, Johannesburg morning, more than an hour before the sun would rise to warm him.

It was my pleasure to feed him and to spend the half hour wait time visiting with him. Abandoned by his father before birth, and orphaned from his mom a few years ago, he has spent life shifting from pillar to post. A grandmother, an aunt, and others will no longer take him in, or so he believes. Why he is homeless and begging for his daily bread was not of much concern for me. I cherished the moments granted to me by the Father. A few precious moments to love on an heir who thought himself an orphan.

In our brief conversation, I quickly discovered a young man who not only knows about the Lord, but has relationship with Jesus. The stuff of life having brought him to this place. The lies of the enemy screaming in his tender ears that he is unwanted and unloved, alone and abandoned.

My desire was that he would know love. Not just any world example of love. Not just a few pennies that would afford a shower and a meal. True love. Love that will wrap His arms around him tonight and preserve his life for the good works prepared for him to do. Love that would speak, louder than the voice of the enemy. Love that would say, without pretense, "You are a precious treasure. You have great value. You are loved, wanted, and dearly missed."

Sean was a gift to me this morning because I passed by an opportunity, a few days ago, with another young person in need of love. My heart broke when I realized I had been too preoccupied with "my life" to see the desparate need of another. This life I so casually call my own, that was bought with the blood of Christ.

How easily do I say to the Lord, " My life is not my own. Do with it what You will." Only to betray Him in an unexpected moment of need.

The blue eyes of the petite little blonde girl, I politely shunned a few days ago, have been the last thing I've seen each night, and the constant ache in my heart, for a week. She trembled from obvious drug withdrawal. Her eyes hollow with silent pleading for someone to care. But, I didn't know how to acquire a taxi, my bus had come in late, my friends were waiting to meet me and I had inconvenienced their whole evening already.

Repentance is good. But it doesn't bring back a lost opportunity to be the love you hope someone else will offer, should they find your child in such a place.

I've known for some time, the phrase, "a needs felt gospel" has bothered me, but couldn't tell you why, except that my spirit did not bear witness. I can tell you today, my spirit doesn't bear witness with it because while Jesus did meet the felt needs of the people, He met the deeper need. The need that the person may not have even had the words to express.

Every healing, every deliverance, every resurrection, was about a need for love and acceptance that had been buried so deep it was numbed to the point of no longer being felt. Even the feeding of the five thousand was about compassion on the individual persons, the disciples included. Love, and it's acceptance, will feed the hungry, demonstrate ones value, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned. Love will bring the homeless poor into the house.

It's own house.

The disciples were suppose to discover something about themselves that day. They were suppose to discover their own, original, created value. They were suppose to recognize, that the good works prepared before hand for them to do, were not about dipping into the purse to feed the people, but rather, about dipping deep into their hearts, past concern for the next coming thing in their own life, dipping deep into a pure love, looking deep into the eyes ~ and the life, of the one who stands in front of them.

Six months now in a foreign land. Six months now I've struggled against the bitter words of those on the field for so much longer. Six months I've held my tongue, determined to humble myself and learn from those who've "been there, done that". I've learned more in the past week than all of the past six months.

Holy Spirit didn't ask for references before He drew me. Jesus didn't require repentance before He ransomed me. The Father doesn`t insist on my doing everything right before He provides my daily bread. Instead, He is faithful when I am not. While I was yet a sinner, Christ found me worth dying for. And Holy Spirit daily woo`s me into His Presence.

How can we, who are chosen to represent Him, dare to judge what He does not, or require atonement for that which He has already atoned?

I've met a number of missionaries who are weary of human failure. Who have become embittered toward those they've been called to forgive and have lost hope for the redemption of the individuals that make up a nation. In all fairness, I have also met some amazing missionaries, who after many, many years on the field, have an ever increasing love for the people they've been called to serve. They freely forgive, knowing who's sins they forgive, the Lord also forgives. They love the people, "warts and all", as we say.

They are quick to release a suffered wrong, entreating the Lord to not hold it against the person, for they know not what they do.

One group looks at the young people I spoke of earlier and refuses to give ~ anything. Excusing their hostility and accusing the needy. They have forgotten who the accuser is. The other group is touched by the hand of the Lord, attentive to His voice pleading for help, and eager to look into vacant eyes and fill the void with love.

I chose to be in the latter group. To set aside the next place I'm suppose to be, to let go of other people's expectations, and to give~ everything, excusing nothing.

If you are reading this today, and you have a child wondering far from home and the love you long to give, if you've prayed and asked the Lord to look after that child, to hold her close, to preserve his life, you can rest, knowing you have what you have asked. The world over, the Lord has those who are willing to be His hands, His feet and His mouthpiece. Wherever they are, His arm is not to short to reach them and His love not too shallow to emerse them. Someone today is looking, waiting, and ready to put their arms around your child and encourage him or her in the truth that they are loved and wanted.

Together, our prayers rise like incense.

With His Heart,

Do not remember the former things, neither consider the things of old. 
Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it will spring forth. 
Will you not perceive it? 
I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 
Isaiah 43:18 & 19

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