Anyone who knows me would completely agree (I think) with this statement…I am random, scatter brained, and often passionate one second, but lazy the next, emotional, sensitive, then hard-core…I’m a mess basically. Today, in this new city for me, I had many of these same feelings. What are the odds?
For starters, this place is much different than I imagined. We are staying in a nice hotel, in the downtown area…Gucci and Pierre Cardin are down the street, yet our room (for two beds) is only about 40 dollars a night…or 800,000 dong. We are here to celebrate with other brothers and sisters 50 years of work here…50 years that the Word has traveled to the people who have never heard before, 50 years of the rocks, trees, and then people crying out in worship to Him. Wow.
We (my teammate and I) met with some leaders who will be a part of a conference held here in celebration of 50 years. One man, we’ll call him “S,” and his wife, served here for about 20 years…when things were not like they are now. Silence was abnormal, gunfire and bombing was a daily, or even hourly occurrence. We met them all at breakfast…he came up to us, gave a hug as a greeting, then walked us over to meet his wife. In her lavender long sleeved shirt and silvery hair, she welcomed us to sit down. She laid a hand on my back and made me feel at home.
We met with a leader in this city, went to lunch and got to listen to “S” speak of his advice to young servants on the field…what an amazing conversation that was to be able to sit in on. I sat there, wishing I had my recorder in hand. Some things I remember…”The doing comes from the filling, and the filling allows the doing to happen.” “You have to meditate and spend time with Him, that’s where He speaks to you” “Your identity lies in Him, not in anything you do or accomplish.” These, and other things discussed, made it perfectly clear why we had come a couple days early for the conference.
Then, while the men met with some officials regarding the conference, my teammate and I were able to visit and have dinner with the wife of “S”, we’ll call her “G.” It made me laugh on the inside, noting the differences between her and “S.” I guess He really does have opposites attract, but with a common goal, in order to work together to serve Him. She was full of stories, great advice, love, just all things really wonderful about a woman of Him, committed to His service, experienced yet humble. All things I really would like to be when I’m 77. I felt encouraged by her words about hardship, her comments on raising a family on the field, struggles she had when she was single and didn’t know where He was leading her in the future.
So…all this to say…I am in awe. I am set on fire…fire to do more, to love more, to meet with Him more, to serve more. To be more like Him…simply to glorify Him as I was made to. I am calmed by the idea that no matter if I’m single forever, or He brings someone to me, I’m useful to Him, simply because He chooses to use me, loves me, and continues to mold me. I am touched by the grace and power He has set in this place over the past 50 years, and before that time…this country has such rich history and is full of turmoil, something you can see on the faces of the people, even now. 75% of the population of 87 million was not even born when the war took place, but the damage remains.
I hope one day, I can look back on my life and realize I did all I could to glorify Him, to serve Him, to love Him and to love those He told me to. I hope that I will be humble, even with age and wisdom. I hope that I will be able to encourage and give advice to those younger than me, like those older than me now do for me.
Oh…sigh…this is more of a journal entry than anything…just wanted to share it all while it was on my heart. I wish you could each experience a little piece of all that I am blessed to be a part of…maybe this just gave you a little glimpse…
And one more thing to share (of course…something to do with music 🙂 ). I read earlier in my quiet time the verses in Amos 5:18-24…about the day of His coming…”I hate, I despise your feasts! I can’t stand the stench of your solemn assemblies. Even if you offer Me your burnt offerings, and grain offerings, I will not accept them, I will have no regard for them…Take away from Me the noise of your songs!….But let justice flow like water and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.”
Then I remembered a song that comes straight from this passage about rituals and the like…oh what a good reminder, especially in a time (much like the past) when we can fall into a cycle of “doing” because we are supposed to, and have no passion or real connection with simply glorifying and serving Him. The song “Instead of a Show” by Jon Foreman speaks a strong reminder…
“I hate all your show and pretense, the hypocricy of your praise, the hypocrisy of your festivals. I hate all your show. Away with your noisy worship, away with your noisy hymns, I stop up my ears when your singing ’em, I hate all your show.
Instead let there be a flood of justice, an endless procession of righteous living, living. instead let there be a flood of justice, instead of a show.
Your eyes are closed when your praying, you sing right along with the band, you shine up your shoes for services, there’s blood on your hands. You turned your back on the homeless, and the ones that don’t fit in your plan, quit playing religion games, there’s blood on your hands.
Instead let there be a flood of justice, an endless procession of righteous living, living. instead let there be a flood of justice, instead of a show. I hate all your show.
Let’s argue this out, if your sins are blood red. Let’s argue this out, you’d be one of the crowd. Let’s argue this out, quit fooling around. Give love to the ones who can’t love at all, give hope to the ones who’ve got no hope at all, stand up for the ones who can’t stand at all.
I hate all your show, I hate all your show, I hate all your show.
Instead let there be a flood of justice, an endless procession of righteous living, living. instead let there be a flood of justice, instead of a show.”
Speaks straight to the heart.
Blessings to you all….