If only I could show you. If only I could take you by the hand and walk these red dirt roads… greeting friends and strangers as goats and cows wander through the bush. I would have you come sit in the clinic and just watch as the souls pass through in frail human bodies… wracked with malaria and respiratory infections and arthritis that grips their joints like a vise. Pain and fevers as they come explaining their sickness, looking with hope at the white girls with medicine. And as I kneel before them, taking their temperature and listening to the rise and fall of breath in lungs and the steady heartbeat of another survivor, my soul cries out against the darkness. Not this one. No more. This has been a place of darkness and hopelessness for too long. I offer them medicine but point to Jesus as the hope of true healing, soul-healing that every last one of us needs. I may never know the souls who seek and find the Savior, but that makes my job even more crucial- we all need a little love and we never know when loving will cause them to look at the Source- Jesus.
Then to leave the clinic and meet with the believers as they learn Jesus-stories to tell in their villages… and the discussion of the story feels like Jesus himself came to sit among us. The story from John 11 of Lazarus and Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. And seeing the understanding dawn on their faces- that just because we face difficulty does not mean that Jesus doesn’t care, in fact, he cares deeply and he knows our fragile, fallen human tendencies, so He gives us opportunities to have faith and to show His glory. This is something they can carry with them. A story to put in their pocket and write upon their hearts- the compassion and love of our Lord is unending, but the difficult days grow our faith and point to His incomprehensible glory.
This. These people slowly by slowly finding hope and true life– truths my people have known for decades upon decades but these were dying without even knowing that there was a path to life eternal. This is why I will always choose the hard, uncomfortable, abnormal, and not exactly safe life that I am currently living. I can’t live safe and comfortable and not share this treasure- that would be the most selfish way to spend my days.
I recently had a friend tell me of a conversation he had with a guy in America who was looking at the possibility of spending a few months of his life in an uncomfortable, war-ravaged, poverty-stricken place to share the good news of Jesus. This guy’s pastor dissuaded him because it might be “needlessly dangerous.”
To that I say– ask anyone living in a “dangerous” place… it’s worth it. The need is REAL. The easy places already know truth. What’s left? The places and people who need to see Jesus-love from souls who carry vast treasure in a jar of clay, people who love Jesus more than their own lives, and whose hearts break at the knowledge of the dying masses who simply don’t know hope because they haven’t been told. Maybe the brave faith that this life requires looks a bit too radical for you… but take it from a girl who fights the lies of fear every single day- we’re just choosing obedience and then walking in his strength. You can be that kind of brave too.
Every single one of us Jesus-followers are commanded to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)… but only you know what that looks like for your life. Jesus will show you where and who if your ears are open to listen and obey. But don’t you dare step between God and someone else’s obedience. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” (Colossians 3:3). I guarantee you that we were not saved from death and an eternity in hell to only sit in a pew on Sundays and Wednesdays. And when did Jesus or Paul or anyone in Scripture not go somewhere simply because it might be dangerous? They walked straight into danger if that’s where God was leading because they knew that obedience would lead to his glory faster than any “safe” option that they could come up with. So, dear heart, hear me say this with love in my voice: You were not created to live small and scared. You received freedom with faith to follow Jesus to the literal ends of the earth. So hear every one of us living obedience cheering you on, as well as those whose names and stories teach us much about faith in Hebrews 11… you aren’t walking alone. And my Jesus is more than enough and worth it all.
The need is real, the workers are few, and the call for obedience applies to you too.
Are you listening?