Friday, September 05, 2008

Watch

... with Me". Matt 26:40

In the mission field it is easy to develop a watchful attitude: watching for God's hand; watching for God to "show up" in the midst of certain circumstances; and I confess watching for His favor.

In an environment as contrasting to God's goodness as India's - it is difficult to "watch" FOR Him. So many other sights and sounds and smells would tell your heart there is not much "good" in so much of "this". The evidence of a fallen and broken world is everywhere: extreme poverty, children naked and uncared for, roads congested with garbage and a variety of animals foraging through the rubble.

Here, there are people considered lower than those same animals that roam freely in the streets, as I said earlier we were with them yesterday, the "rag pickers". And as Pastor Johnson explained, "no one wants anything to do with them we must have a separate church for them, for even the children understand who they are and do not want to be ridiculed by the others."

Oswald Chambers always serves and trains me well both in the field and at home. This morning's devotion was Jesus charge to His disciples "watch WITH me". Our morning program was at the newly constructed "God's Presence Prayer Temple". Each Friday Pastor J and his team assemble in the village, fast and pray all day with the people who show up with a variety of ailments and predicaments.

As I looked out at the crowd of over 300 adults gathered, I learned the difference between watching FOR Him and watching WITH Him. The sick always sought out Jesus, loved ones brought their infirm relatives, parents brought in their demon possessed children, friends brought neighbors and lowered them through rooftops - all to get to the man they heard was healing.

I watched with my Master, the faithful, the faithless, and the faith seekers hear the Gospel proclaimed. I recalled the verse where Jesus said to the sick man "your sins are forgiven" and the Pharisees balked at His boldness. He replied, what is easier to say, 'your sins are forgiven or be healed?" After which He healed Him as well.

I live in a culture far removed from miracle "healings". I live in a culture that no longer chases after the Master's presence to get just a touch of His garment. I live in a culture where the "good" things are seen on every tree-lined street corner swept free of trash. I live in a culture where our constitution says "all men are created equal" - though some could argue various discriminatory claims - I have never heard of a race or class of people in America being consider lower than animals. I live in a culture where children are not running naked in the streets.

I watched WITH Jesus today, and saw the "Truth" that has set me free BUT - the "world" that binds me to disbelief. That IS the GOODNESS of our God. He redeems it all, He uses it all, He shapes it all, He controls it all, and He was and is and is to come!

We have boldly proclaimed the Good News to close to 1500 men, women and children. We have experienced the joy of the Lord and gained strength. We hold fast to this promise, "...be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much you know that your labor is not in vain."

Watching, waiting and still smiling (but itching less)