Darkness

You have never experienced darkness until you come to Africa. With very little electricity, when the sun goes down, darkness is thick. There are times even standing outside under the moon you cannot see your hand in front of your face. I often joke with my guard out in Bukeleba that I don’t even know why he guards me because he couldn’t see anything coming at us until it has already attacked us. I am convinced that African’s have cat-like vision and can see at night, unlike us Americans.

Tonight as I was driving back into town from the Babies home it was that eerie darkness everywhere. I was amazed though that far in the distance I would see a tiny light and that would be the one candle burning for a family as they gathered in their hut to have dinner. One candle… burning as I would drive by and try to imagine what living this life would be like. I can’t even begin to imagine. Huddled around either a fire or candle in a mud hut, with almost 12 people in the little small space all needing light.

I had hired a car tonight and my driver had a random cd playing. I mean everything from the song “Sexual Healing” to the Titanic theme song by my guilty pleasure, Celine Dion and some random Christian songs. I was just thinking about my life living in this darkness and an old school Christian song that came out when Christian music was in my opinion super cheesy but every so once in awhile you would get a good one like, Go Light Your World, came on. The chorus says this…

Carry your candle, run to the darkness. Seek out the helpless, confused and torn. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle and go light your world.

And in that dark car ride home, on the orange road in the middle of no where in Uganda, I saw a clear picture of a candle in a dark world. I love how the song says RUN to the darkness not walk or tread carefully into the dark. Preparing for this 3 months I treaded carefully and was scared of the darkness, which was the unknown. I definitely did not run at times to get to this dark place. But now after being here, I see the need to run. There is such a fight in the spiritual realm here; babies are being sacrificed to demons because their parents believe they will become rich. Husbands have 4 wives with children that are suffering from a dysfunctional home. HIV runs rampant. Children are dying by the second just because they lack food. Diseases that are easily treated and not terminal at home are taking lives here. It is dark here in Africa.

One little flame here though has dozens of people gathered around.

It is dark in America too. I can think of many dark places and how we have left other Christians to take the Gospel to the dark places because “some people are called to go and others are just called to support”. Not true. We have all been called to the dark places. We have all been created by God, saved from our sins, and blessed by God to make his glory known in all of the world.  Where is your dark place that the Lord is calling you to run to not walk?

I think we all have the desire in us to impact the world, if not the world at large but the world around us. That desire is strategically placed by our Creator. As David Platt states, “Regardless of what country we live in, what skills we posses, what kind of education we have, or what kind of salary we make, Jesus has commanded each of us to make disciples, and this is the means by which we will impact the world. Indeed, Jesus has invited us to join with Him in the surprisingly simple journey of spreading the gospel to all nations by spending our lives for the good of others and the glory of God”.

A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. You will lose nothing by taking your candle into the darkness. One candle, one flame can light a forest fire.

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Betrayal and Abandonment

Those two words have been surrounding me the last few weeks. Everywhere I turn I have one of the Two staring me in the face. I haven’t been able to run from it, so I have fought with the Lord as to why He is bringing these two into my life. He has once again revealed another glimpse of His heart to me.

A little over a week ago I myself experienced betrayal in my own personal life. It cuts deeper than anything I have experienced. I cried tears and then the anger came and I was so frustrated that I was dealing with issues that were taking my focus off of what the Lord had placed in front of me at that time. I didn’t understand why I was being attacked with things from home when I had so much on my plate here. It was a struggle to put my hurt aside and feel present here. But He is so gracious to me even in betrayal….

This weekend I was at the Babies Home doing what I love and that is loving on these precious children. Once a quarter the children’s guardians come to check up on the children or to bring paperwork that is required. This Saturday I was not expecting visitors at the home but some guardians started to come. I won’t go into detail but once again I was faced with these two ugly vices. These precious children were experiencing these Two and to see it imposed on an innocent child, it literally caused me to weep. Hard sobs. I was crying because I now knew why God had just one day before allowed me to walk through the Two because the next day I would need to walk through it with my sweet children. I brought one child in my lap as he cried for his momma who had just left him…again…and we held each other as we cried. He is 5 years old and at that moment I wanted to take it all from him, I wanted to bear it all. I knew what it tasted like and I couldn’t imagine what it tasted to a child. 

As I was trying to process everything last night I heard very clearly from the Lord. I was so angry and just throwing out the normal questions like: Why me? Why have you allowed these innocent children to experience such things? Just a spirit of unrest. I heard him speak to me and He clearly reminded me that He was betrayed by one His best friends. He reminded me that he looked upon His innocent son and had to watch him be abandoned my the world. He reminded me that just as I had felt the pain of my child that day and held him as we cried together, just days before He was holding me crying alongside of me. 

He is ever present. I have always known He knows everything we face here on this Earth, I have known that there is nothing that I face that He hasn’t already faced but today I not only know, I have seen. I have seen how He will always show up in betrayal and abandonment. He brings perspective. 

The two are a sweet blessing because there is nothing like those Two that can lead you to His feet faster. The Two show you that when we put our hope, security, and faith in man we always are risking having the Two following close behind. Those two will cause you to bend low, face down or to climb up into His lap. Either place is where we should be found.