I’ve never had a day Ike today, feeling overwhelmed & inadequate to everything around me. I visited one of our malnutrition clinics here in Angola & when we landed this morning, there were 98 babies who were being looked after for malnutrition. That’s a HEAP OF BABIES & I’ve never experienced malnutrition in such high numbers. So walking around the buildings this morning, I seeing babies at various severities of malnutrition, this was definitely challenging. And I don’t find myself numb from the sheer numbers of babies. I’m able to recognize the distended bellies, stringy arms, knobby knees, glassy eyes, xylophone ribs, lightened hair . . . . I know the symptoms & it’s difficult to see each baby struggling to survive, along w each mom, abundantly stretched with worry & care from looking after their baby whom they deeply love.
By the time we left this afternoon, the clinic had 125 babies & everyone was trying to figure out where to let everyone settle for some space & hopeful rest / recovery.
When I’m past my breaking point, it helps me remember that whatever we do to the least, we do to Jesus. So let’s love well, no matter where we are nor what’s happening around us.
Oftentimes I’ll ask God to give me the finances to do stuff that’s on my heart. And sometimes the money comes, but more often God gives me creatives ideas, time, relationships & solutions that help me to make progress on various plans. I’m also learning that God gives me wisdom & / or endurance.
Let’s be certain to recognize that God absolutely supplies our needs, often in ways that we don’t anticipate. Sometimes, God can even change a need so that it can align with the provisions that we have!
Ravens, brooks & widows. These were three ways God provided for the needs that Elijah had. After reading about these resources this morning, it struck me about how creatively God works to meet & resolve the needs in our lives.
Let’s be wise stewards with the resources that we have while appreciating that God has some very creative & interesting ways to meet the needs that exceed our current provisions. And above all, let’s continue to remain grateful because God is always faithful!
Commercials on tv & the web make it seem like we never have enough. From these marketing efforts, it seems like we don’t have enough status, popularity, image, health, time, etc. I think we often believe these distortions, even subconsciously, or such marketers would try different tactics. But their sales efforts don’t really satisfy that “enough” chasm in our souls.
So what makes us full? What satisfies? What truly fulfills us?
I don’t think anyone or anything will ultimately satisfy us because of how we are created by God. Indeed, it’s been my experience that I’m the most fulfilled & richly satisfied when I’m attentive to the Holy Spirit. And being aware that the Holy Spirit is always with me let’s me live in a healthy equanimity that nothing human can provide. The Holy Spirit is enough for me.
I grew up as a very independent person & felt very strongly that being independent was a noble aim. Now, I’m not so sure. I find myself frequently in situations where I’m inadequate, not smart enough nor strong enough to handle what’s happening. More often than not, the people who are around me have solutions I’ve not thought of, strength I don’t have & poise for the pressures of the moment. And if all of that isn’t enough, I hear that still, small & comforting voice in my heart saying, “I’m here.” I’m finding that we need each other & it’s a wonderful discovery!
In my passion to know God, I want to be very careful that I’m not merely a God consumer & in this relationship for what I can get out of God. But in my desire for authentic & genuine intimacy with God, I am reminded from time to time that God is my Helper & I’m not “using” God when I ask for help. Rather, I’m letting God express Their (Trinity) personality when I lean into Them. Maybe one of the best ways I can genuinely love God is to let Them freely express Themselves in my daily living. Perhaps more dependence on God can foster greater intimacy with Them 🙂
There are lots of things that I think I need but what I continue to experience in almost a daily way is that God’s provisions are perfectly timed for my exact needs. I have been seeing this reality for several months now – from things related to having more time, achieving things really efficiently, financial provisions & strategic wisdom, just to name a few examples. So I feel that God is really challenging me in a couple of ways:
*trust God more & better
*maybe if there’s something that I think I need that I’m not getting, maybe I don’t really need that “something”
*provision has lots of different expressions & aren’t just financial (wisdom, efficiency, time, etc)
*God’s provisions are perfectly crafted & timed for each need in our lives 🙂
I just visited a slum where many sex workers live & several of them are using the nightcare facility with Saving Moses. Our nightcare provides a safe place for the babies of sex workers to receive care, love & nurturing while their moms work. I am presently trying to think & process this experience & meeting these very gracious moms. I’m struggling to find some words & to do the emotions from this time.
I have had a few people question my motive for starting nightcare , feeling that I was encouraging the loose behavior of these moms (enabling their adulterous & disreputable profession). My answer to these concerns is that I’ve never met a woman whose first choice to earn a living would be to have sex with multiple men in one evening in exchange for money. The moms I met today put skin, faces & names to my thoughts, as well as to the astounding need for nightcare. I am blown away
I really like the story about Abraham being obedient to God to sacrifice Isaac in Gen 23. I like it for lots of different reasons: it shows what determined obedience looks like, it shows me Abraham’s heart, it shows me some of God’s methods, among many other things. The culmination of the story is when Abraham is about ready to slay his son & God stops him & shows him the ram in the thicket – perfect provision in the nick of time. Which brings me to some thoughts related to our daily living.
There’s a difference between want, need & imminent need. Unfornately, we often get the definitions of want & need mixed up. Thankfully, God helps to clarify that difference from time to time 🙂 We all have needs & ultimately we need to see God as the answer to those needs. But here’s something to consider: a regular need is different than an imminent need. Abraham needed a ram to sacrifice instead of his son, from the minute he set out to obey God. The further he continued on the obedience path, the greater the need for a ram became. Nevertheless, he was committed to obey God even to the point of believing God could raise Isaac from the dead. But Abraham’s need became critical & imminent when he had tied up Isaac & was ready to plunge a knife into him. That is the moment when God gave Abraham the provision that he needed.
Here’s my point: we can not only trust God to be the provision for our needs but we can also trust in His timing. If He’s not providing something that we feel we need at this moment, the possibility exists that He thinks we don’t need that provision at this moment. And if this is true, then we can trust Him to provide what we need, when we really need it. Trust would be an operative word 🙂
This has been an interesting week with the stock market – to say the least. Reece says that the stock market in America dropped 17% in the last week – virtually unprecedented in recent history. I think the economic thing is making the global community a bit jittery & understandably so. However, it is my humble opinion that the economic crisis is revealing a deeper abyss – the misconception that wealth is the solution to the emptiness that echoes in the chasm of each human heart on the planet. While I completely appreciate the value of wealth & its ability to improve the ability of the poor to survive, let’s not be misled that it is an answer to the neediness of our hearts.
Reece told me about something that happened in Louisiana with a drilling rig on a lake that accidentally broke through the bottom of a lake only to discover a salt cave under the lake – watch the video below to see what happened. While you’re watching, think about this question: could our present economic strain be revealing a deeper chasm?
I’ve noticed that I’m not blogging as much as before I left for Ethiopia & I’ve been thinking about this. Truth be known, I think I have been really rocked by this trip in lots of ways & I still find myself being unraveled from this trip, from time to time. I find myself processing things a little differently, but I’m also finding myself really hungry for Jesus – more than hungry. I’m finding myself to be very needy – I need Jesus & this trip has done many things, the most blatant to me is exposing my desperation for Jesus in a daily context. THis trip also showed me some areas where I’ve limited God & offended Him w my arrogance.
I want this turning to Jesus to become a bend in my heart (bend, inclination, habit, predisposition, proclivity . . . . pick your word), cultivated into a lifestyle of craving Him. I need Jesus more than I want Him and more than I like Him.