Sunday, 9 October 2011

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

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Visiting Great Gram in Kenya

Last Sunday I found myself to be much like Jonah.  I was ready to pack up and go home.  I didn’t want to stay because it all seemed too hard.  My mind raced down channels, searching aimlessly for ways that I could live back in Canada.  I was reeling with fearful thoughts of what would happen if we stayed.  How would I ever manage?  Thankfully there are no whales in Kenya and I was only temporarily swallowed up in a momentary lapse of fear and what appeared to be defeat.  Soon after some much needed rest and some personal time with God (weeping in the comfort of His loving presence) I arose with a fresh perspective, a free heart and with joy, anticipating the adventure that lay ahead.

Kenya is definitely not for the faint of heart.  I find myself living in the midst of a paradox.  Much like an example I once heard. ( I believe it was Graham Cooke) A paradox is much like a coin.  It has two sides.  One side is not right/good and the other side wrong/bad, but rather they are both unique and valid and together they form one coin or experience. 

On days that I am feeling really connected to God, I have peace in the midst of all that I see and experience.  But on days when I am feeling disconnected, life appears uncertain, shaken and even scary.  This land is harsh and it people hearty.  Like much of Africa it is riddled with danger around most corners and winding bends.  The unexpected is the norm, with plans constantly being changed, shaped and chiseled through unforeseen circumstances.  Yet in the midst of it is the raw striking beauty and wonder of it all. 

These days I am acutely aware of how fragile life is and how vulnerable we are as humans.    Daily we receive reports of someone who has been taken to the hospital or of one who has not survived the night to see another day.  In Canada this would be a distant news report on a T.V. of some soul on another continent far away from my safe little world but here in Kenya, death has reached and brushes up against the boarders of my once, safe small space.   Those who are suffering now have a name and are called friend and a hand I hold.  This is the daily struggle my heart and mind must now contend for.  There is no refuge or running away .  I can’t appease myself with it being a short term mission trip that I can leave behind or lay to rest, but rather a life that I must now learn to walk and live.  Oh how I  cling to Jesus, from where my help comes from.( PS 121:2)  The only person in whom I could place such confidence and hope. (Rom 5:5) The Lover of my soul.  My keeper, my strength, my all in all……  Where would I be without Him??

So today, I rest comfortably, peaceably in His safe and very capable hands but some of my days I grow restless with the stretching of my boarders, out of my comfort zones, with a life so clearly out of my control.  It is wild, raw unpredictable, and at times seemingly overwhelming and frightening but I thank God that my coin rarely falls on the side of fear and uncertainty.  I mostly walk in gratitude of small daily happenings, knowing that it is only His Grace that has kept us thus far.  In North America I find it is easy to be lulled into a false sense that we are somehow keeping ourselves, when I am here it is overwhelmingly  apparent that that is such a blatant lie, it is only by His grace and goodness that one remains.

 If I managed to flip my coin over again, I can fix my heart on His unchanging, unfailing love and marvel at the wonder of His work and the privilege of being called His own.  Humbled at His invitation to drink deeply of His goodness and share in the adventure of His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven!