These are the words of the infamous reluctant missionary, spoken from the belly of the whale. He had been disobedient and run the other way, because he did not want to see the salvation of those who in his judgment did not deserve it. Over the past two weeks, I have heard the stories of perpetrators whom I have judged do not deserve God's mercy or salvation. They are murders, rapists, glue sellers, pimps of street girls, corporate owners who know their product is taking the lives of thousands and look towards profits instead of people. My heart is glad Hell is hot.
It was not Jonah's judgment to make and it is not mine. Christ's teaching was very clear in many parables about Who gets to make that call (the 12th hour workers, the man forgiven of his debt who went and beat someone who owed him money, the celebration of the return of the prodigal son, even the thief on the cross).
After traveling 30+ hours across the globe, we returned late Thursday. You can imagine here it is a whole different world. And in some ways it IS like being vomitted up from the belly of a fish onto dry land. The unfamiliar has gone, the smell is gone, the red dirt choking our lungs and staining our feet has been washed off. Safe drinking water and familiar food has satiated hunger and thirst. But the memories remain.
There is a little girl still wearing a tattered yellow dress waiting until daylight can take her safely back into the compound of Oasis of Hope where there will be food, water and a for now a remnant of childhood - where she can run without the fear of broken glass, and she can laugh because that is what 3 year old children do.
"From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to a rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2
I called to the Lord while I was at the end of the earth in Africa. My heart was and still is faint. I am still walking with Him as He leads me to the Rock - that is higher than where I stand today. The view from His perspective is not my view - of that I can assure you. I have read your emails filled with brokeness for the children, prayers for us on the ground, and have held tightly to the character of the God I serve. Questions are consistent and constant, "how can you do this, how can you see this, what do you do?"
"Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God your God, is with you every step you take." Joshua 1:9
For reasons yet unclear, God commanded us to go - to this place at this time. We took our strength and courage from your intercession on our behalf. We walked into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. We were not shy about it, and we encouraged each other when we faced discouragement.
We know God is our God. ALMIGHTY!
He was with us every step we took: through the Maasai village in Amboseli, dancing the "Chicken Dance" with orphans of the Adopt-a-Legacy program, in the slums of Kitale, sitting with us among 57 infants and toddlers abandoned and infected with TB, and with 100 children at the Oasis of Hope struggling to beat the addiction of glue.
I'm home, and while I am back in my "comfort zone" I am uncomfortable. If sadness and sorrow could cause the breathe to escape one's body and induce fainting, I would praise God because the chair I am sitting in and have little motivation to rise from would keep me from falling flat on the floor. I know prayer changes things and God hears the cries of His people. But - what do I need in Dallas, TX - when there is a little girl in a yellow tattered dress, without a mother or father to hold her, without a blanket to keep her warm and with perhaps only a fleeting remembrance of a tall white stranger who sat in the dirt and made her laugh?
"God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch His breath. And He knows EVERYTHING inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to the dropouts... But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don't grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31
Not fainting still
In His service