Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What we deserve

Got this email from a friend of mine working in the third world today ...
‘I don’t deserve this.’ How many times have we said this to ourselves in the heat of some conflict, in the face of difficult circumstances, it the wake of some sudden unexpected tragedy. It is an idea common to us especially as Americans. We believe that justice is a fundamental right and it was one of our founding fathers innate beliefs, one that is prominent in the way our constitution was written. As the 4th of July approaches I am reminded of how I take my rights for granted as an American. I am never more patriotic than when I am living overseas. The loss of basic human rights is so pervasive elsewhere that it is expected, and not the exception.

One thing I don’t think we realize is that the statement above is very true, ‘We don’t deserve this.’ We don’t deserve the enormous wealth we have. We don’t deserve to live in a country that has such incredible religious freedoms. We don’t deserve a society that has a fairly good judicial system. We don’t deserve our relentless quest of ‘life liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, much less that this quest is so often successful.

We were lost in a hopeless fog and nothing about us was a cause for our Father to be drawn to us, to give us the amazing goodness and sweetness we find so easily in our lives today.

We manage to listen to your evening news on the satellite that my son bought for us [to use] on mornings when we have electricity. We get two of them (ABC and CBS) and the most common feature reported is the ailing economy due to the increased cost of oil. On a local level we are dealing with people who are trying to feed their new twins on a salary of $55 per month, a couple who both are struggling with chronic illnesses and no way to pay for their health care, a family of 5 whose diet has to be totally revamped to less nutritious alternatives because the cost of the most basic staples which meet their needs has doubled. There is no where down to go for any of them. They cannot say, ‘Well, let’s just not buy so many cokes or eat out as often, or not visit Starbucks this month.’ They can only go to less nutritious options, less food, less health, less, less…

No, I do not deserve this. I do not deserve the wealth I have, the health, the children, grandchildren, the love of my husband, the endless options I have to choose from for my comfort, personal growth, or entertainment. But on a MUCH deeper level, I do not deserve the love of God and his intervention in my life. I do not deserve to have been sent here by you, to see the incredible things he is doing here. To be in the center of the whirlwind he is creating in this place. To be used by him each day. I am so blessed. Day after day I see his hand on my life. He has given me work to do that is so fulfilling and allows me to see what He is doing so that I can participate in his acts in this part of the world. What a tremendous privilege! I don’t deserve this.

This sense of awe about what He is doing here has been greatly heightened. I can see all around us people coming to him. And they want to share with others. A group from our church in Louisville is here staying with us. Daily they go out and engage people. Many have come to faith. One paralyzed man was healed. He is going out this week to find a job. It is difficult to know which miracle would be bigger, for him to find a job or to walk again. All of us at the same time are seeing changes in the lives of those with whom we are working. The move of the Spirit is sweeping through. I don’t deserve this. I did nothing but be here, talking, loving, sharing, encouraging, teaching. It wasn’t our idea to come, nor were we trying to have ourselves prepared properly. I didn’t decide to learn the language when I was young because I knew I would need it later. All my talents and abilities that are needed here, now, are free gifts given for the benefit others, not myself. Everything I have and indeed that I am is a gift. Now that we are watching in awe at all that He is doing. It is kind of like watching those fireworks displays many of you will see if your communities don’t cancel them for insufficient funds. You have to be there at the right time and place, but you don’t have to do anything. The whole show is on someone else’s time and expense.

The show is so beautiful. [Our dear friend with back pain] was prayed over by all of us together. He is not well, but each day he seems to be a little bit better. He said that regardless of what his pain level was, he was so happy inside that it mattered little. Raining Honey is well enough to return to work. [Another friend] came and we talked in the midst of the 6 guests from America (I would never have chosen to do it that way, dense me) about groups and how desperately they are needed here. He had just spent the day with this group from the US and was enthusiastic about working on getting groups formed himself here in [this third world villiage]. The numbers of people who have come to our Savior is daily increasing and what we really need is more people to disciple them. Please ask for this.

The thankfulness swells in my heart and overwhelms me. As I walk the trails given to me each day through the of those He chose before the foundation of our universe, the majesty of our Father’s work is almost too much to dwell on. I know I do not deserve life to be this good. May it be so with all of us.

Wow. Praise the Lord.