Every time I know I’ve heard from Jesus, the message is incredibly simple–one you could give to a child. Yet “simple” doesn’t mean “easy.”
I want to tell you about my last message.
As I’ve already said, I don’t feel ready to leave Greece in a week. There’s too much beauty and redemption and hard, fulfilling work here to just walk away, untouched. Plus, the daily work and burdens we’ve been given to carry always feel harder and more ordinary than others’ seem to be (At least mine do). The moment we turn back and begin to journey home is always a hard one for me.
But I do not want to be ungrateful for the time I have been given.
I’ve rubbed shoulders with people wearing raw courage and contagious joy as the only barrier between them and the mocking What If’s of their life. Heartbreaking redemption stories are as common as most peoples’ stories of annoying commutes to work.
I’ve had a little girl run up to me and throw her arms around my neck and refuse to let go. So we walked and held each other and ignored the heat. And then she wanted to play, and I let her go. (Her family left camp early, so I never got to tell her how much I’d learned to love her in those short 3 days, how much I would miss her smile and sassiness.)
I’ve walked where Paul walked. (Nuff said!)
I got to be a part of an awesome team of people. I’ve laughed more on this trip than I have in a long time, and am so thankful that I got to live life with them for 3 weeks. (April, Tiffany, George, Josiah…I’m even #Blessed by y’all! 🙃)
I had a mother come up to me and in broken English tell me about her family back in Afghanistan. I smiled at her pictures and responded as well as I could, until I suddenly understood what she was showing me: A picture of a healthy 5-year-old boy who had been killed, probably by the Taliban. It was her little boy. Her eldest son.
Never have I been so very aware of the evil in the world. It had the power to wound a mama’ heart forever. To reach through time and bring darkness to a happy moment at a camp in Greece.
We, as a team, had several moments like this.
The most incredible part is the believers who lived through this–“baby” Christians who still need teaching in things like when God starts accepting us (before or after baptism?)–they have understood something that I am only beginning to see after growing up in the faith.
That something is this:
Jesus is the goal, himself.
Don’t underestimate the simplicity of it.
Let me try to explain what this means. So many times, we lose track of who we are, and spend our days a) building our own kingdoms or b) struggling to get to the point where we look like Jesus.
Maybe neither are correct.
Maybe Jesus is the goal.
If that’s true, than nothing we do really makes a difference. Whether we struggle with jealousy, or unkindness, or financial responsibility. Whether we’ve yelled at our kids once or a dozen times today. If Jesus is the goal, then our job is merely to stay close to him. It’s his to show us when we need to change something.
If Jesus is the goal, then no matter what happens to us, we’ll be ok. Whether a friend is dying of cancer, or you can’t find a job to support your family, or a legal case is resolved unjustly. Even if the Taliban kill your little boy. If we’re near Jesus, then nothing will break our spirits.
The most amazing part of this is what Jesus gives us back. He’s not a harsh God who demands we come close, to kneel and receive his judgment for the day. Listen:
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them–he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”
I pray you know how much he loves you. Pray that we–the team and the new Christians we spent last week with–do, too.
P.S. I have a hard time walking away from a chance to pick on people, soooo…a lighthearted postscript!
I’ve learned April is excited about buying an ugly fanny pack (weirdo!), and that Josiah kinda goes crazy when a painting on the wall isn’t straight, and that George eats a ridiculous amount of snacks on road trips. I have yet to learn that Tiffany is capable of walking near a table without injuring herself.
And I’m still perfect. 😉
Thanks for reading our blog!! Y’all are awesome. 🙌🏼