Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This Thanksgiving I feel different. I have noticed something since I've been back from Africa. I am more PROFOUNDLY thankful, more frequently. Of course the response of thankfulness after traveling to a poverty stricken area may seem like a no brainer, but I'm finding that it's not the comforts of home that I'm thankful for. It's the fact that I can't get the people I met in Africa out of my head, although I do admit..I'm not trying very hard. :)
So, this Thanksgiving I am deeply grateful for the people I met in Uganda. God has used them in the past two months to change my life and my relationship with Him. The beauty of their absolute love and trust in God in the middle of despicable circumstances has rattled me to my core and caused me to question several important things in my life.
First of all, if I lost everything I had materially would I still be thankful? Would I still be able to praise God as fervently as the people I met in war torn, poverty stricken Uganda do? Could I give praise to God authentically and not just with my mouth??
Which then leads me to ask "Where do I get my security?" Is it really from my bank account and my job? Those things could be gone in an instant. The people I met in Africa have absolutely NO material security. They don't know where their next meal is coming from, if the water they're drinking to survive is actually going to kill them, if their cattle will be stolen in the night, if their children will ever get to go to school and the list goes on...I'm talking NO SECURITY.
And yet, I am telling you some of them are the most secure people I have ever met in my life. Their confidence is in God. Not people. Not money. Not a job. It's in God. And so even in the midst of dark situations, they are not shaken. And I can't tell you how that has stirred my heart. It has made me want to not just loosen my grip on the things I cling to so fiercely, but to actually let go. As I am learning to let go of the things I have always thought brought me security I am finding myself with open hands to receive the true security and joy that can only come from God.
James 1 says "Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights who does NOT change like the shifting shadows." The God I know and the God these people in Africa know has never and will never change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I can trust Him because He is good. In just 9 days in September I have seen Him bring healing to tumors, bring food to those who are hungry, bring comfort to those who weep, bring peace to people in situations where they should have no peace, bring laughter to those who are sad and I have seen light break through the darkness and give hope to people's souls. This is the God I serve and the God I praise this Thanksgiving. And this is the God who deserves my everything.
So while I want to give thanks this week for all the blessings I have, I think God would like more than just my thanks and praise. I believe He wants my heart-all of it. My time. My energy. My resources. My love. My everything. And you know what? At long last, there's nothing I'd rather do than give it ALL to Him.
And to the people in Uganda who have spoken so deeply into my soul, I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you have chosen to trust and believe God to be exactly who He says He is and who He has shown Himself to be again and again. I am thankful that you enjoy a peace that so many do not. I am thankful that you raise your voices loudly and your hands high in worship of the God who created the universe yet knows the number of hairs of your head. I am thankful for your courage, your strength, the beauty of your stories and the beauty of the God who has woven our stories together. Thank you for showing me that true thankfulness comes from firmly knowing and trusting in the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases.
Posted by Amy at 7:20 AM