In the midst of having no time for mundane things like dusting because your life is, quite frankly, a little out of control in the fast lane – God carves out two weeks to stop it all and go away to a place where getting the house dusted is not on anyone’s to-do list.
Because the dust stirred up by the fall of man has never really settled.
Beauty and pain…
The Middle East awaited me with a beauty that took me by surprise. In the midst of war-torn God displayed the wonder of His creation that refuses to give way to the destruction of the rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil of this dark world.
Everywhere I looked, I saw Him and the beauty of His heart in the midst of struggle because everywhere I looked I saw those made in His image and I felt the pain of Love.
I felt the pain of begging for whatever man would give because there was no hope for what God longed to give her.
And in the midst of that pain, I remembered that I too was once such a beggar.
The real hard…
It was hot and humid and sometimes harder than I thought it would be. The sixth floor and no elevator kind of hard that made me angry for not taking better care of myself so that I could make it to the top without fear that I would stop. breathing. Mosquito (or some other evil insect) bites that covered legs with a blistery, itching-until-I-wanted-to-cry mess kind of hard. No air conditioning and windows closed to keep out the mosquitoes so sleep is impossible kind of hard.
And in the midst of “harder than I thought it would be“, God showed me what hard is.
And my heart bowed in gratitude and repentance and remembrance that uncomfortable is not the same as hard. Living can be uncomfortable, but living without the hope of Christ is the real hard.
That’s the hard place that God sends us into so that we can forget what is uncomfortable and weep for the hard that surely must break His heart. That is the hard ground that He asks us to tread on to bring Love that softens and changes and sows and waters and pushes back darkness so that Truth takes hold.
Beloved, hard is everywhere and God is in its midst, inviting us in with Him.
High places and low places…
Twice we went to the high places in two different cities for the purpose of praying for those cities.
And there’s just something moving about taking to high ground to cry out to the God on high.
Because the heart of God is moved by the prayers of His people.
And it was in the high places praying for cities and in the low places of a refugee camp praying for destinies as I held tiny hands while I painted tiny fingernails that God called intercession forth from a dormant place in my heart. And in that calling forth He answered a question I didn’t realize I had asked. “What is my purpose in this place, on this team?”
In high places and low places, I found my place as an intercessor again as the stirrings of His Spirit moved my heart in familiar ways, renewing something I thought was gone.
In the midst of climbing to heights and bending down to paint tiny fingernails this truth became fire in my bones…the question is not “will God answer?”, but “will I cry out?”
In the midst of our travel-weary, various pains and sickness and the uprising of flesh, we worshiped Him and He spoke.
My blood is enough. My grace is sufficient. My glory is worth it.
And I was reminded yet again that we do not live for us but for Him and He is worth every pain of crucifying our own flesh and that in our dying, He is in our midst bringing life. And with all of this, I became thankful. Thankful that He is a God of community and that He calls us to go together, to live together, to love together, and to die to ourselves together. I found myself then, and even more so now, so very thankful for the team I was so honored to be with in this adventure. A team that loved well, honored in incredible ways, died to themselves in hard places, called each other out and up when it was needed, and allowed God to have His way. There were no fingers pointing, just hands offering to carry burdens and love covering and people pressing through hard places with tears and laughter and comfort and encouragement.
I am thankful because I saw God in the midst of His Beloved. I am thankful for blood and grace and a Glory that is worth it all.
I am thankful that He allowed me the privilege of going to the Middle East to find Him there.