I was not prepared.
I stepped off that plane, July 26th after 28 hours of travel time, ready to bring the gospel to Africa.
Even through I was exhausted, excitement filled the air, a sense of boldness to bring the gospel to Africa came over me. I was sure I was fully prepared for whatever came my way the next 12 days. After all, I had come to impact Africa for the Gospel.
Little did I know 12 days later, that Africa would leave such a lasting impact on me.
No one prepared me for how my heart would feel. No one told me I would have trouble functioning in real life again. No one told me I would sit at a red light and cry because I couldn’t shake the images of children on the streets without food or a parent to love them. No one warned me that children without shoes dug in the garbage for their next meal.
How can I turn my head? How can I pretend I didn’t see such poverty? How can I go on living life-like I had never seen children with torn and dirty clothes walking up a hill for a mile to get water? How do I shake the image of a baby sitting on the street covered in urine soiled clothes, no tears left to cry, sucking on a dirty piece of paper? Her mother working a job that pays less than a dollar a day to provide for a baby she doesn’t even want…abused by a man who could care less about her.
I can’t. I can’t continue life the same. And I don’t want to either. I pray that I never again become numb to the cry of the oppressed. I pray that my eyes will see, and my ears will hear and my heart will be open to whatever the Holy Spirit has in-store, even if it means yanking me out of my comfort zone.
This trip ruined me. It shook me out of my American culture daze. This trip cleared my vision to see the blessings that I take for granted every single day. How very blessed I am to have running water and electricity when 60% of Uganda, Africa sits in the dark when the sun goes down. They don’t have the luxury to turn on a faucet in their very own home or to feel the warmth of a towel as it comes out of the dryer.
When you know how very blessed you are, you become willing to step out of your comfort zone to bring freedom to the oppressed. When you allow your heart to feel, you’re willing to go to great lengths to bring Love to the darkness. When you stop long enough to look into the eyes of the hurting, you are willing to die daily to provide a better life for the needy.
How can we not open our heart and home to another child? How can I not give up daily luxuries to promote the Gospel to the nations?
Jesus, our greatest example of love, stepped away from the multitude, stepped off the platform, to see pain in their eyes, to hear the rattling of their chains, and to feel in His heart the sorrow and the grief of the unloveable, the outcasts, the ones who were spat on and abused by the church people.
He took the time to get down in their dirt to speak straight to their hearts. He went out of His way to meet with the people who would never even think of beckoning the doors of the church. He walked through a grave site to bring freedom to man who lived among the tombs. He talked to women who were the outcasts of their village. He touched the lame and prayed for the demon possessed.
He was unhindered and unafraid of the world. He did exactly what His Father asked of Him…love. Love without limits. Love beyond the walls of the church. Love when it’s uncomfortable. Love when it hurts. Love when it’s inconvenient. Love when no one sees. Love when there is no applause. Love when the spot light is turned off. Love when it cost something.
Do we dare to step out of the four walls of the church to love the unloveable?
Don’t hide from the pain of the world, instead face it and allow the Holy Spirit do His work within your hardened heart.
I met a fellow missionary in the airport that said people thought it was dangerous for her to travel to Africa however she said, “It’s dangerous for us not to go.”
It’s far to dangerous for us not to see the poverty of the rest of the world.
The world is waiting for us to have enough courage to be the change. Today we choose to be the ones to do something about the things that break Jesus’s heart.
The truth is as we cry out to God to do something about the pain in the world, He is waiting for us to be the change. Don’t close your eyes to the needs of the world.
Pray today about how you can be the change the world needs.
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