Three years ago I watched a documentary about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Honestly at that time I had no interest in Africa, AIDS or the people affected in the world. It was not in the radar of what I knew as my life, but that day God sat me down and sat me still and He touched my heart. Although it wasn’t a religious video or even one of social justice, I couldn’t turn away from what I saw and heard from Him that day…the burden. I told my family afterward that I would be going to Africa on a mission trip one day.
Over these last years I have thought about that statement and that day often. Then several days ago I watched a music video by Sara Groves. It was a video set to her song I Saw What I Saw and it was a message about how her life was changed and how it really began by a visit to Rwanda. When I saw it I started crying. I was bawling like a baby. Couldn’t contain my feelings. I know what God has placed in my heart and seeing that video brought it all into the open, if just in my own room…it had become a burden and was this true desire I was feeling?
Today I watched another documentary from the Nomad Film Series. It was titled- Just Showed Up For My Own Life. This documentary, about Sara Groves as well, chronicled both that visit to Rwanda but in much more detail and Sara ministering in Louisiana during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I am completely undone.
I have over these last years asked God to give me a heart that felt love, real love. God has taken my heart filled to the brim with so many prejudices and judgments and apathy and I can feel Him replacing it with His heart of deep longing and love and “homesickness” for these nations of Africa but also for individuals; also for this nation…the poor and broken-hearted of this nation and this town. I have cried all day for the orphans and the widows; for the elderly; for the women and for the men. Those living in poverty and a kind of trauma that I can’t even understand. His people, His children. Then I find myself praying that He would give me a nation and to help me perceive the need in the one in front of me today.
What God has placed in my heart is beyond my understanding. I guess I write it here because I have to believe there is someone out there that knows something at all about what I am feeling. I admit I don’t get it exactly and I admit it might sound crazy. I don’t even know the simple things I need to know so yes it is so beyond me…but for whatever circumstance I find myself or whatever season of my life I am in, this is. This is a new reality that has always been there in God’s plan for me. It is now a part of my own life. It is risky and yet I know the risk of not showing up for this part of my life is so much greater. I see documentaries like this and read books and listen to missionaries speak and I just want to see and know a people with that kind of love, faith, healing, joy that these people seem to know. I want to walk with Jesus there- maybe so I can know more of how He wants me to walk with Him here. One of the consequences of great prejudice seems to be great responsibility. I have to own that. I want to quit crying and yet I don’t want to ever quit. It is now my burden, my desire and my prayer.
I have been meditating on this scripture today. It has blessed me:
Isaiah 41:9-10 (New International Version)
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.