Face to Face
For the past ten days, each morning our team begins singing praise songs, followed by a time of prayer. Before we left for Tanzania I looked at the schedule and prayed for appropriate "soul" songs to set our hearts in motion for the tasks prepared for the day. Of course when we arrived - our schedule changed: the best laid plans and playlists of mice and clowns!
However, in God's providence the praises we have offered have still prepared us and readied our spirits for the path He picked.
Today, originally would have been a "rest" day, instead it was the last day of the conference and the conclusion of our participation in what God was/is/ and will continue to do here in Mwanza.
One of our morning offerings was "Be Still and Know". With all we have seen, all we have heard, all we have driven by that has gone unnoticed it produced a certain consciousness: "be still and know that He is God, be still and know that He is faithful..."
When I tell you there a thousand sights and situations that confront your faith here in Africa I am not making an overstatement.
"For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then..." 1 Cor 13:12 KJV
The dirt and stone filled road leading to the compound where we are staying passes by a few mud huts. Each morning we wave to the naked children running around and the mothers washing or preparing the days meals while roosters and chickens are scattered by the noise of our van. But just before we reach the main road there is a plot of dark charcoal colored land where there are always people digging. Most are children which originally made us think they were playing. But one day when I saw clearly what they were doing I was shocked. I confirmed with Sabina what my eyes could not believe; they were digging through an old dump site for broken glass.
"Through a glass darkly..."
In Oswald Chambers study on Job, he states essentially when we are confronted with the tragedy of life we immediately think God where are you? When in actuality we have come face to face with Him and He takes full responsibility. It is the great tragedy of sin that created the need for the horrific sacrificial death on the Cross by the Son of God.
We don't understand the why of so many things. We couldn't fathom why elderly women were hacked to death, buried and buried alive for superstitious practices - but the Tanzanians could not understand why it is legal for pregnancies to be terminated in the United States with such frequency either.
There are things on this earth we simply cannot comprehend or explain. These children are not "recyclying to go green", if they do not collect enough shards of glass they go hungry, they go thirsty, and they stay naked.
"Be still and know that He is faithful, consider all that He has done."
We rejoiced seeing demons flee in the village - but Jesus told His disciples the thing to rejoice over was their own salvation (Luke 10:20).
He intercedes in our weak and feeble attempts to understand what there are no human words to pray (Rom 8:26) He equipped us through your faithfulness (Eph 6:18-19) He gave us this mission (2 Tim 1:9) before any of us was born. He trusted us to see His-story at a history making time.
And now we wait - like patient farmers for the Lord to bring the rain, to provide the sunshine and raise up more worker's for the Harvest that is sure to come.
"We have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God, (even when you see children digging through broken glass, babies starving, and AIDS victims shunned)
hope unswervingly, (along every path and road He leads you on even if it takes you to the valley of the shadow of death)
love extravagantly (show the people He puts in your path you trust Him enough to solve the problems of the world through what was done on the Cross, travel ten thousand miles at great personal expense to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth).
And the best of the three is love." 1 Cor 13:13 The Message
The best we have accomplished without question and with a smile