Uncomfortable is a word that I would use very freely 16 days ago. "My bed is uncomfortable to me tonight." "This hot shower hurt my skin and made me uncomfortable" "These new shoes are uncomfortable." My discomfort was circumstantial. It wasn't life threatening. It wasn't overwhelming (even if I dramatically made it seem like it at the time).
I just got back from spending 15 days in Africa. I was in Uganda for a week and Kenya for a week. I thought I knew what it meant to be uncomfortable until I went there... I soon learned that all my "reservations and discomforts" were going to be thrown out the window and that my prayers for brokenness, to be humbled and sifted would soon be answered in a very BIG and LOUD way.
Hurt. This word was seen in so many different ways. There was hurt everywhere I looked on my trip. People were hurting... physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They were hungry. They were naked. They were dying. They were in pain. They were abandoned. They had diseases that were both visible and hidden. There was so much hurt and I was overwhelmed.
Yearning. These people were yearning for more...or even some. They yearned for food. They yearned for shelter. They yearned for love-- a simple smile would do. They yearned to feel worthy. They yearned for things that I could not give them. They yearned for satisfaction and all I could do was point them North. I could only provide the hope for yearning that comes through faith. The yearning that comes from a Savior not a "mzungu" (white person).
Faith. These people love Jesus... and they love Him hard. There is no reservations when they worship. They don't worry about the volume of their voices, the appearance of their actions or even if those actions are being noticed! They lose themselves in their Savior. They scream out to their Beloved and know that He is not only listening to them, but that He is understanding their pain, desire and faith.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the POOR. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the CAPTIVES and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are OPPRESSED, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor!" -Luke 4:18-19
I prayed for the Lord is break my heart and to ruin all of the plans I made. I desired my uncomfortableness to be tested and for my faith to be stretched. I hoped to see the Lord... to truly SEE His works. To experience Him in a way I had never experience Him before! I craved to be humbled and "forced" to completely rely of the Lord. To have my control and stubbornness stripped away and left completely vulnerable and empty. Not only wanting the Savior but whole heartily needing Him.
On this trip I was bruised, broken, spent and left vulnerably opened. I can honestly say it was two of the most difficult weeks I have ever experienced. However, the way I experienced the Lord was unreal. Things happened that you only read about it the bible. Prayers were answer instantaneously. I never doubted the Lord-- but because He loves me so much He allowed me to see Him in a completely different way. He allowed me to see Him in a supernatural way that is unexplainable. He didn't need me to be used on this trip but He allowed me to serve these people and babies as a tool of the Lord. And in doing this He allowed me to draw closer to Him and have a clearer vision of Him and His Kingdom. He revealed parts of Himself to me that I would not have appreciated, understood or desired had it be shown to me anywhere else or at any other time. He let me die to myself, be reduced to nothing, be 110% humbled and vulnerable (which is not a fun or desirable place to be) and give Him all the honor and glory and praise.
::Sweet Jesus as I come back to my life here God I ask for opportunities to talk about what I experienced in Africa. Allow me to use this not to exalt myself but to exalt YOU! Father, let these stories and pictures point to Your love and grace. As I get back into the swing of things let me remember how to rely on You... even when the situations aren't always as uncomfortable. Don't let me be easily swayed by pointless things, but instead let me heart be surrounded with things not of this world. Let me radiate you in my interactions with others. My heart will yearn and hurt for these babies I left in Africa, however, let me not be burdened by their circumstances but by their salvation. It doesn't matter where they live now if they don't know where they will be living eternally and desire for it to be with You. I shouldn't be consumed with how they are being fed physically but rather spiritually. God let me never, ever forget You and Your universal love!::