Today, I write this from across the world from a place where some people would consider deprived, lost, or even poor. After just over one month here, I have witnessed how completely inaccurate that judgement would be. Let me tell you about two of my friends.
The first is Jane; a single, proud mother and proud Rejoice Project leader. Jane independently, and by hand, farms her land and the land of her parents in order to provide for herself and her son's schooling. She walks to four different schools four times a week to teach students the Good News and to tell each of them that they are deeply loved and pursued by God. Although Jane lives alone, she says, "I am not alone because God is with me." She gives up livestock believing and knowing that God will provide anyway.
My second friend is Dorcas. Sweet, Dorcas. Dorcas comes from a community where Christianity is a new culture. Although it is evident how much she loves her traditional culture, she was forced into an unfortunate position, which led her to flee from her home and seek guidance from her pastor. For two years she was unable to return home, but she was ok because she had her faith and God was with her. Now at the age of 18, she has made amends with her family, and they respect her greatly. She is now investing in the young students and lives in her community spreading the gospel.
As I reflect on meeting these beautiful, powerful, and wise women, I can only think of one thing- God.
I ask myself some very hard questions:
- Do I believe God will provide if I surrender everything to Him?
- Would I be willing to walk endless miles to teach students about living a Christian life for no pay, day after day?
- Is my faith strong enough for me to forever be alone and fully depend on God?
- If I'm ever put into this situation, would I be willing to completely walk away from my norm or family, friends, and community to stand up for my love of God?
Both of these women could have chosen the easy or comfortable way to live, safety and obeying the world's laws. But each of them said no, and they decided to boldly and faithfully surrender their lives to God day after day. And because they have surrendered every aspect of their lives, they now live in full abundance. Full of more joy, love, and laughter than most people you will meet.
I think back to the story of Gideon in Judges 6. When Gideon receives a call from an angel of the Lord to rescue Israel from the Midianites, he responds with, "But Lord, how Can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family." The Lord said to him, " I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man." Gideon continues to doubt and test God, but eventually calls upon his clan, obeys the Lord's requests, and defeats the Midianites with 300 men each holding clay jars with torches in them. At one moment the men smashed the jars letting the light shine through and watched and the Midianites ran in panic to escape.
At the beginning of the story, Gideon seems weak and unworthy of this call, but regardless the Lord says, "I am sending you!"(14). Jane and Dorcas and Gideon struggled just like you and I, fighting acceptance, flesh desires, distractions, and comfort. They fight these things to answer their call and to declare the glory of God.
Like I've said before, God will never call upon the perfect, but he perfects the ones who are called. My friend Stephanie wrote in her bible, "We are jars made of clay. Vessels, broken and cracked. Yet we're holding God's richest and most glorious treasure (the Holy Spirit). It's through our cracks and holes that the light shines through." The glory goes to God.
My prayer is that I will not be so distracted that I don't hear God's call. I urge you to ask yourself, "What is God calling me to surrender so that His glory may prevail? Knowing that, although is may be hard to surrender, God is with you all the time."