Oh that we would be reminded daily of the character of our God - lest our sin leads us to selfishly think that anything He does is for our satisfaction or our glory. He is thirsty for His glory alone. And He is infinitely worthy.
There is a type of love that arises in response to the beauty, value and other commendable qualities of its recipient. Grace is a different kind of love, one that exists although there is nothing commendable in the recipient. Grace only functions as such if its objects are the undeserving and the unable - those who have absolutely nothing to recommend them as a candidate for God's favor.
So now, instead of just feeling excitement when I drive through those amazing fall-colored tree tunnels on the winding back roads or cuddle up in a super soft blanket, I see an opportunity to practice eucharisteo. It's opened my mind and my heart to a whole new depth of joy.
If there’s one thing the Lord has been teaching me about lately, it is His faithfulness. How it is so evident in every single moment of my life, big and small; it is so cool for me to look back and see the way that He has flawlessly orchestrated every single detail of my life for His glory. Even when I can’t see Him moving at all, He is always working things together for His glory. In everything. He is faithful.
"But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through."
I see their faces everywhere. I hear their laughter. I dream about them. Their smiles, their faces, their hugs, their kisses, their tiny hands in mine. I miss it all. So much. I try not to talk about how much I miss them because I feel like people will think I’ve gone crazy. Why do I miss them so much?
Tiny little children, they can’t be older than three years old, sitting in the street with their hands cupped, begging for money or food or anything. They stare up at me and smile. I can’t get their faces out of my mind. Walking down the streets of Kabalagala, the “red light district” of the city, I see drunks lying on the side of the street and I see young girls who are most likely forced into prostitution to survive. Walking down the street I look into their eyes and I see so much brokenness, so much pain, I can almost feel it in my own heart.
I have been surrounded by so many wonderful children. These children have captured my heart and taught me so much about how to love. Completely. Wholeheartedly. Unselfishly. They don’t think about how long they have with you or when you’re going to leave. They don’t hold back at all. They just love.
I came to Africa thinking that I was going to be teaching, serving, and loving the children and the people here. And yes, I have been doing these things. We’ve been able to teach the wonderful children at Rays of Hope, the school in the slums of Kabalagala. We’ve been able to serve by helping with cooking, cleaning, and doing chores at the houses. And I have fallen in love with every single one of the children at the houses and schools we have gone to. But in reality, I have been taught, served, and loved so much more by every single person I have come in contact with.
I woke up my first morning in Africa to roosters crowing, Lugandan shouts, and children’s laughter outside. It was beautiful. Walking outside I was greeted with wonderful hello hugs and beautiful good mornings from precious children. I’ve never received so much love and I didn’t even know them yet! We spent all day getting to know them and playing with them. It was great. Later that night we were upstairs and heard the children’s beautiful voices singing praises to Jesus. We walked downstairs and see them all on their knees praying out loud and crying out to God. It was the most beautiful, genuine worship I’ve ever seen.
Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step…with complete faith. I believe there is only one truly courageous thing we can do with our lives: to love unconditionally. Absolutely, with all of ourselves, so much that it hurts and then more.
Agape love speaks of a love drawn out of the heart based on the preciousness of the object loved. So how incredible is it that despite our inadequacies Christ still finds value in us. Enough to complete the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, of agape love, for us?
One week ago a tornado tore through the city of Tuscaloosa, and many other cities in the southeast. It flattened buildings, it tore roofs off of houses, it took the lives of friends and loved ones, it completely devastated the city and the lives of thousands of people. But the tornado also did something else...