Monday, March 23, 2015

When I Prayed for Rain

It’s been so hot here. Uncharacteristically hot. We’re in the end of an elongated dry season that has left each of us here begging Jesus for rain. Water sources around town have been drying up, and the city regularly turns off water in order to conserve it. 

In Kamonkoli, city water didn’t reach the village for over a week. And even when Pastor called to get the fire engine to bring water from Mbale, they said they couldn’t pick water from dry sources. People in Kamonkoli would line up for hours at the wells waiting for their turn to fill their bright yellow jerrycans. They have really suffered. 

In town, with my big water tank perched on top of my roof ready to collect water every second the city has it turned on, I really have had nothing to complain about. Yes, we’ve had days that water ran out and bathing became a luxury instead of routine, but on the whole we’ve done fine. It’s the heat that’s been the biggest challenge.

After weeks and weeks of praying, today Jesus sent the rain! …..exactly 2 minutes after Henry started removing one of two flat tires I had woken up to find. He hadn’t even finished removing the bolts and the water started pouring down. Talk about emotional roller coaster. It went something like this…. YES!!!!! RAIN!!! WAIT! WHAT?? RAIN??? Right now??? Jesus I know I’ve been begging for weeks, but couldn’t You just wait 5 more minutes. That’s it. 5. minutes. Just enough for him to get the tire switched out. Then you can open up the heavens and let it pour away! 

But the rains continued to come, and servant that he is, Henry continued to work. Drops darkening the back of his shirt while I stood covered and dry on the veranda. It was a humbling moment. Watching as Henry insisted on finishing helping me, whether or not he got soaked. Which of course he did. For my benefit. For my blessing. So that I could soak up the blessing of rain while at the same time being graciously served and cared for. It was really beautiful! 

In fact the beauty of those moments and actions helped carry me through the next 2 hours of waiting and watching the ‘tire people’ painstakingly remove every tire, check, repair, and refill them before putting them on again. All while I did my best to ignore the stares, dodge the proposals, and breathe through the stifling humidity. 

Such an African day!! Difficulties and blessings all jumbled up together in a way that kept me looking for Jesus in each moment. Seeking to praise Him for the good and the bad alike. Because He is good!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Mere Words Failed

The room had fallen completely still, the stillness of intense attention and interest. It was one of those God moments. When you know completely that the Holy Spirit is present and impacting hearts. When you know the words coming out of your mouth aren't coming from your own mind, but the mind of Christ alive in you. Jesus' presence was palpable.

It was during our weekly Bible study and most of my teachers were hearing the term 'propitiation' for the first time. Propitiation. The working out of God's wrath on someone or something other than the deserving person.

For centuries, this was seen in the appeasing of God's wrath through the constant stream of sacrificed animals. However, those offerings were only a faint shadow of the true and final sacrifice: the Lamb of God. That dark and beautiful day when the enormity of God's anger for every sinful act, word, and thought of God's people throughout the centuries was poured out on the head of the Perfect God-Man, Jesus. When He suffered one of the most excruciating deaths known to man, so that every trembling heart was given confidence to come before God with joy and not fear. Their relationship with Him made perfectly whole and unhindered because of that agonizing and wonderful act.

Simple words are not enough to convey the weight of that truth. That day, simple words failed me. But as I tripped and stumbled through trying to explain and make clear this precious truth of Scripture, God showed up. Understanding began to shine in their eyes, and as I scanned their faces, I was amazed to find tears pouring down the face of one of my teachers. This teacher who for 2 1/2 years has been one of the most unreadable, seemingly untouchable people I have worked with. Whose stance has mostly been arms crossed than arms wide open. That teacher who generally demands proof for my every statement. The one I thought I might never get past her mind to her heart. That teacher sat before me, tears falling fast as she diligently wiped them away with her handkerchief, and I was amazed.

I was amazed at the power and goodness of Jesus to speak to hearts. And His goodness in allowing me to take part. I am nothing without Him: just a fumbling, desperate girl. But because of His power and kindness towards me, I can take part in His work of touching hearts. I can watch Him do miracles that I couldn't even think to request. What an incredible gift! What a precious privilege!