I wish I could take all of you from where you are reading this and let you listen in on some of the things that are happening here in Africa. I’ve been going on missions for a long time now and these are some of the truest (=most raw heart of the Father) things I’ve ever seen.
I was reading this morning where Jesus saw that the people were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9). I think I understood this better than ever before. It’s his “gentle and humble heart.” (Matthew 28:11). He then went on to say that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, so we should ask the Lord to send workers. I’ve always thought of this as “oh there are so many lost people we need more missionaries.” I don’t know if that’s what He means. The more I get to know God, the more I see how incredibly humble He truly is. It blows my mind. He’s the God of the universe who could crush us in a moment, with one thought from his all-powerful mind…yet He seeks to comfort people. The one who shaped the stars is also the one who cried when his friend died (john 11). It’s incredible! (Don’t forget, he cried but also raised that friend to LIFE!)
Each day, I’m witnessing unmatched joy in the people of Africa, but also such sorrow and pain. Two days ago I saw a dead man on the road. He’d been hit by a car. Yesterday, a baby had been aborted and the remains left on the street. It breaks my heart. More than that, it breaks the heart of God. We see one atrocity, He sees every single horrible thing that happens in the world. His heart is overflowing with compassion saying the harvest is plentiful. There are so many hearts ripe for restoration, but He uses the hands and feet and mouths of people to deliver his healing. He says to pray for harvesters….not converters. He says pray for those who will go and reap the restoration that He wants so badly to bring to hearts. His compassion is unmatched. His patience is unparalleled. There is truly no one like Him.
So what’s the hope for those who are “harassed and helpless”? The hope is for others to get their brains and hearts off of themselves and become those who deliver healing- the compassion that’s overflowing from a loving God.
We had an incredible moment of ministry the other day which caused a bit of a ruckus on the road we were ministering on. I’ll tell the full story in a coming post, but one of the girls who we were ministering to told us about all the bad things that happen to kids in the community and the rape that is rampant. One of our girls kept asking her, “Do you know someone that has happened to?” She asked at least three times. I wondered, “Why in the world do you keep asking??” The woman was hardly even acknowledging that the question was being asked. Then our team member took the young woman aside and asked pointedly, “Did that happen to you?” The woman began to cry and explained she was raped when she was 15, about 9 years ago. She had never told anyone. Rachel on our team was the first person to know and to press in to see what healing God had for this awesome young lady. I wonder how many people over the last 9 years have passed this girl and God nudged them saying, “I have compassion for this one.” How many times did God ask someone to stop and see what was happening in this girl’s heart? I’m so glad Rachel was faithful that day. (Rachel visited her a few days later and the woman told her how much life has been different since they prayed together!!)
The God of old is the God of now. He’s the same. He’s been weaving a story of restoration through all of history. It’s easy in an environment like Africa to see hurt and then to act. It might be harder to notice someone when you are walking through the mall. But please, please I plead with you stop and see where the harvest is in front of you today. The Gospel is a Gospel of Peace (Ephesians). It’s a Gospel of restoration. It’s not a Gospel of “Do this” and “Don’t do this.” If it was, we’d never make it. Praise God for his patience with us and his desire to make the wrong things right and bring everything under the Lordship of our Holy God. When we find His heart, we’ll be drawn in more and more and more and bring people along with us for the journey.
If you are reading this and don’t know God. I hope that today you consider if what I wrote is true. I promise you it is. God’s not a task master. He is True Love. He wants to restore and heal your heart and bring you into relationship with Him. Keep looking, you will find that He is close.
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