Some people might describe Ethiopia as a hopeless place. As I looked around at the faces, I saw hope. Despite the extreme poverty and heartbreak, the love they show for Christ and others has deeply touched me. The Lord is doing a mighty work amongst his people. This is what this life is truly about.
Arriving back from Ethiopia, cell phones suddenly woke up and familiar sounds filled the air. I think of the moments when my team prayed…when the world faded away and Jesus rushed in. As I got off the plane I notice how sterile the environment looked compared to what I had left. Neatly dressed business men and women rushed through the airport and I thought of the woman sitting on the curbside by the busy street in tattered clothing with her baby sleeping beside her, on a piece of cloth that was laid on the cement. As I reach the highway, my mind went back to the mud roads that covered the villages.
I pass by a school with children getting out, parents lining the streets and I remember the children roaming the streets and villages, possibly not able to go to school because of money they don’t have. I think of the Roggie kids who are able to attend school because of help from sponsors. They count it a joy and privilege to put on their school uniforms to walk a dirt path to be able to attend school.
We drive past a church and I think of Sunday mornings when people attend worship despite possibly not having all of their needs met but still seeking the heart of God and passing out gifts and food out of respect for us. I think of Samuel who heard the Gospel and received Christ. He was rescued and redeemed and now disciples others despite knowing the pain of having his Muslim family reject him.
I wonder if others will understand my experience. My world collides. The ache comes in the worlds colliding, a longing for all to be connected. It is about sharing Jesus. What am I to do in the longing, the feelings between there and here? How do I answer the questions or understand the passivity of the responses?
Allow the worlds to collide. Love with all my being wherever I am. Give generously and willingly. Open eyes to see what Jesus sees. Whether its the needs of a child living among the deepest poverty or my family and friends. Love both with all my heart. As I love, somehow, the worlds collide. The Spirit of the Lord is among us. There is no variation in giving here or there….simply giving…and in turn receiving Jesus.
The sadness sometimes felt after is normal. We were warned. It should propel me faster to the things of God and a deeper dependence on Him. Release of the ache should come as I raise my hands in thanksgiving for each breath I take. As I take notice of the moments that occupies my time. I can do all things in Christ and allow Him to invade my world, wherever I am.
It is in the going to a place such as Ethiopia and doing something that more than exceeds my experiences. The Jesus I encountered this week was more than I can put into a blog post. Jesus is as much on display now in conversations, laughter and hugs. The worlds collide as I hear about others week and I seek after their hearts and reach into their world so they will know Jesus more just as we sought after the hearts of the Ethiopians, that they would know that they are loved by us and Jesus. I need to lean in tighter and allow what happened to continue to motivate how I live. Allow the worlds to collide. Allow God to continue to prove faithful as I walk the path He has laid out for me. I am created by God and for God for His purpose.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Our God reigns!” Isa. 52:7 The Spirit of the Lord is among us. There is no variation here or there….simply giving…and in turn seeing Jesus