Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Hold On Tight
So hold on tight since I have no idea where I'm headed with this blog post. Bear with me because I've got a lot on my mind and not much ability to process it all right now. I'm finding that it's been relatively easy for me to share stories about my trip to Uganda by blogging but am coming to realize that I just can't put to words what I FEEL inside - partly because I don't know exactly what I feel. They always say re-entry to life as you know it is hard once you've experienced extreme poverty up close and personally. Whoever "they" is would be right. I'm just wading through whether what I feel is just the usual "welcome back to your crazy excessive life" or something else. I rather suspect something else.
For months and months now God has been moving my heart for the people of Africa. I have lost sleep, I have cried countless tears, my thoughts have been consumed by the need, my heart has been broken until finally I went. Now I'm back and not much has changed in that regard...if anything I am now more aware than ever the reality the people face there. I am restless. I am riled up. I am stirred. I saw what I saw and I can't go back to life the way it was. Nor do I want to.
As I sit here typing I recognize fully that God has gifted each of us differently, has different plans for our lives and my journey will not look like some of yours. BUT...
Scripture is crystal clear about the following:
"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." - Isaiah 58:10
I want my life to be about honoring God and being light to those around me. I want my love for Jesus to be so evident that people would be drawn to know the love of God...I want my light to rise in the darkness. And God says that will happen as I SPEND MYSELF on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.
Here's the rub...I'm not SPENDING myself on anything but me. Even my involvement in orphan advocacy is all very comfortable for me. I love it...God has given me a heart for it and that's great. BUT...am I SPENDING myself on behalf of the hungry and helping to satisfy the needs of the oppressed? No. I'm not.
Maybe that's what this trip to Uganda was about among other things...for God to show me that He isn't just asking for the parts of my life I am ready and willing to give Him. That He wants me to say from the deepest part of my being that I want what He wants for me. Even if it breaks my heart. Even if it causes me pain. Even if it means I give up things in my life I never thought I'd be asked to give up.
Deep, deep down in my soul I just want to spend myself - I want to be poured out. I want to give until there's nothing left to give and God has to come and fill me back up again. I want to strip myself of those things I rely on. I want to depend on Him wholly.
I want to obey His call to truly spend myself on the people who He cares SO deeply about. The truth is that I have NEVER felt so close to God as I did in Uganda. I believe it's because He is ever present with the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, the broken. Seriously...I just felt like I was breathing God in all around me - right there in the middle of circumstances so unimaginable they would make your stomach hurt. When Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of these we do to Him He wasn't kidding. God was there.
The presence of God was so real, so palpable as I was among the poorest of the poor and the orphans and widows. One young man named James wrote me a letter and said "I love Jesus Christ because He died for me on the cross. I am an orphan but the Bible says that God is the father to the fatherless and the mother to the motherless. I trust in Jesus Christ for my needs." Does that cause you to stop and take stock of your own heart like it did me? I wept on the bus when I read it. Here was this young man barefoot, dirty, hungry and alone telling me He trusted Jesus for his needs while I have the audacity to sit in the comfort of my home with food in my refrigerator, clothes on my back and money in the bank and tell God thanks, but I've got it all in control.
I so do NOT want to be in control anymore. I don't want to chase after my own dreams, I don't want to convince myself I'm living the life God has for me - I actually want to BE living the life God has for me - whatever the cost. And so I'm letting go of my grip that holds so tightly to things that are not important. I am saying to God - WHATEVER You want. WHATEVER. Show me how to spend myself on the hungry as you want me to. Show me what that looks like for me.
If there's one thing I know for sure it's that my life is not my own - it has never been although I certainly have lived for years now as if it was. So I say to God - my life belongs to You. I set my ideas of where I am supposed to be and what I am to do aside and ask You to come and show me the path that I should walk. Where You are is where I want to be.
Posted by Amy at 10:08 AM