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Slivers of Grace

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I’m a few days into my trip and I’ve already encountered some pretty life altering events. 30 hours of travel was well worth the journey and it has given me a lot to think about.

Today, I blessed a mud hut that was built a year ago. The widows were happy and smiling at the sight of us. I even danced a little bit with them. Their smiles and prayers made me laugh and smile with them. I thought things were definitely looking up.

Later on, I went to the marketplace nearby and I witnessed firsthand a lot of poverty. There was a woman who kept following us around begging for money. She had no shoes and no apparent means of getting income elsewhere. After meeting that woman, I talked to one of our guides, Mama Karen, and she said what we were doing was just a drop in a bucket. The needs of the poor and the hungry were not being dealt with for the most part by the Kenyan Church. I ended up becoming a little angry at God. I wondered if what I was doing in Kenya was truly worth the effort.

The Lord then reminded me of two seemingly unconnected books that I love: The Road by Cormac McCarthy and the book of Ruth. The Road is about a father and his son wandering through a dystopian America after it has been wiped out by an undescribed disaster. They live day to day on little scraps of food and barely any energy. They are dying from malnutrition. The book asks questions about humanity, about God, and about whether or not God is guiding our steps or if it is just random bursts of luck when good things happen. The conclusion of the novel doesn’t offer answers to the questions it presents and it leaves the ending thoughts up to the reader.

The book of Ruth is interesting because it discusses the ordeals of the marginalized in the middle of chaos. Ruth takes place in the middle of the book of Judges with the warfare and the extreme situations. It discusses God’s work in the margins that often go unnoticed. I call these types of moments “slivers of grace.”

I have seen slivers of grace in Kenya, but that does not necessarily change the political or social climate to allow widows and the poor to find some way out of their situations. If you were to ask me if God is in Kenya, I would answer with a resounding, “Yes – but probably not in the way you think He is.” God is walking with the widows and orphans here and changing their lives. We often assume that national change and revival happens with a grand spectacle – but it mostly happens on smaller levels at first, with people. It is in those slivers of grace that we witness in the lives of the marginalized that truly pushes the winds of change.

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2 thoughts on “Slivers of Grace

  1. Nate, I am just now commenting, but I am glad you are getting to experience all of these emotions and questions within the context of Kenya…because this is the worldwide need of a Savior. You articulated it well and I pray you are encouraged through all this, that what God has called you to will matter to the one “drop” in the bucket, and that is where we are to be obedient. God has a miraculous way of using the ripple effect, exponentially (to borrow from another word picture!) May your drops of love, attention, and care continue to spill into the lives of the people you come into contact with and may the Name of Jesus be lifted up! Blessings!

  2. Nate, Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post. I’m glad to hear that you are remaining open to learn whatever it is that God has for you. JG may not be the total answer – but that doesn’t mean your experiences (or those of your JG team) are not important and significant to the Lord’s plans. If Jesus can multiply some loaves and a few fish, He can surely use your “drop” that you yield to Him in ways that are far beyond yourself (for His glory and the good of others)! You may not know this side of heaven all that may mean.

    Does more need to happen? Absolutely. Perhaps the Lord will then also use you to help share the need with others!

    I look forward to hearing more stories from you and your team in the days ahead!

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