As I was in my quiet time earlier this week, I was thinking about patience and waiting and time. Boy, if that isn’t a lot to think about huh?! The night before I had to get on Skype and internet and try to take care of some business in the USA and I just kept running into walls. I was getting absolutely nowhere. And the thing I was working on was extremely important to me and needed taken care of. Well, I finally stopped what I was doing and that was that. Nothing got taken care of.
Just three months ago I would have been frustrated and complained about this and that, and on and on. And I was amazed that I just walked away and I slept so peacefully that night. I knew that I had tried everything I could from here and it just wasn’t going to happen for me “in the way I expected it to”. So I was sitting here and thinking about how far I have come from “myself” to resting in the Father’s plans for me. I thought about patience and waiting and time and I have come to a serious conclusion.
The only way to truly learn something or truly know a thing is to experience it. To experience real waiting it takes being put into situations that cause us to have to wait. Everything in Africa requires waiting. It takes days longer to get things done here than it does in America. In America if I want to go to the next town, which is about 18 miles away, I hop in my car and in 15 minutes I am there. Here it takes almost an hour driving because of the road conditions and 99% of the people walk there and it takes them six hours on average, one way.
You cannot just walk a straight line here, no interference. You have to stop and chat with people all along the way. Africa is a very social country, all of it. It could literally take a person all day to get there. Here at the compound if there is any type of change to the way we do things, it involves sometimes more than an hour of back and forth discussion and clarification and interpretation before everyone understands and agrees to the change. I am so serious. Nothing is easy or quick. And so I have learned how to wait and be patient.
To experience love, it takes being put into situations that require us to love. Yesterday, one of the guys on one of our building crews lost his daughter who was only six years old. I don’t know this man personally because the crews are always out at the church building sites so it is hard to know everyone. Well, this man was at devotions and we stopped and prayed for him and tears were rolling down my face at his loss. I have seen so much suffering here and I experience these things with them and the Lord is filling my heart with compassion, even for those I don’t know. And so I have learned compassion through my experiences here in Africa.
And I sit here and I think of these things, I think about the situations we find ourselves in, and how we cry out to God and it seems as if He isn’t answering us. We pray and pray for a thing and it doesn’t come quickly or in the way we want it to. I think that God sometimes delays or answers us differently many times because He wants us to experience and learn something very important in these small afflictions and trials and tests. He knows that in order to truly learn a thing, we must experience it. It must become a part of our character, a fine-tuned response for maybe even more difficult future situations.
I see how the Father loves us and I experience this love everyday as the children run up to me outside our gates, always calling my name, “Kalowina! Kalowina!” They say my name over and over again from far across the field of dirt as they run to me, one little boy always naked and in flip flops. When I try and go for a jog, they run after me and run the entire way. They don’t leave me alone.
The little boy, naked and in flip flops, runs the entire 1.5 miles with me and he does not stop and he is only 4 years old at the most! I swear I am not exaggerating! I have never seen kids like these who eat lentils and rice and run the way they do. Today I just picked him up and hugged him so tight and told him over and over how amazing he was and he didn’t understand a word I said but I think he knew that I though he was amazing.
They are like little magnets. Sometimes I have to tell them to stay and wait for me as I come back around on my run course because it is so hot for them, otherwise they would follow me all the way. The little boy on our compound, he finds me no matter how hard I try to hide. In the morning when I sneak away to hide and get quiet with God, he finds me. He always finds me. He loves me and wants to be with me. He sleeps on the floor in my office near my feet for his nap. He doesn’t want to go anywhere else. He walks back and forth in front of my office door always looking in, just to get a glance.
The children outside the fence, they know where my tent is and when I go for my shower. They literally wait there and see me coming and keep calling my name through the fence, over and over and over. This morning, they were peering through the fence, waiting for me to wake up as I slept in for once. It’s crazy isn’t it? I have to not get irritated and I have to smile and remind myself that this is how we should love God. This is how it should be with us and Him. We should wait outside the fence near His tent and when we see Him coming, call His name over and over and over.
God is showing me through the children how it is with Him and I, with you and He. He says come to Me as these little children. Run after Me calling My name from across the expanse that is between us. Come after Me naked in your adoration and unashamed in your flip flops. Come find Me and I will be found by you, even when it seems as if I am hiding, I will be found by you. Come take your rest at My feet. Come walk back and forth in front of My dwelling place until you catch My eye.
Wow! God wants us to experience the love and the joy of these small children so that we would continue to know how to love Him. He knows this is what will remain in our hearts as a teaching experience, the best way for many to learn. And sometimes he tells us to stay and wait because we can’t go where He is going yet. We still have a little growing to do. He knows what is best for us. And even if we ignore Him and still run after Him, He will pick us up and tell us how amazing we are to Him!
And so beloved, I say to you, look at all your life situations, meditate on them, and wait in the quiet to see what your Father wants to show you. He will always show you something. Every single thing about our lives is a teaching time for Him.
Our lifetime could never be long enough to learn all that He would show us. Every single day, He shows me things here in this desolate place. Every day I see new life in the desert, new life in me. As long as the earth remains, there will forever be seedtime and harvest. (Genesis 8) What plants are you waiting to see? Where do you limit God’s garden for you? Let the Father plant so many seeds in your garden that you could never name them all in this lifetime. Be excited and expectant everyday to see what new plant sprouts for you. He will show you great and mighty things, things which you still do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Just take one day at a time. Try not to look at the rest of your life or the rest of the week. Just walk with Jesus one day at a time. I feel this is a Word from Him for all of us. He sees the planner in us, the loving heart that you have to want everything to be right and good and done with honor. And He is saying, it’s okay, relax, and just walk with Him. As you walk, keep looking at Him and keep your gaze on Him and everything will be easy, one day at a time. It is when we start looking down the road, taking our eyes off Him, that it becomes hard. He isn’t concerned with time. He just wants you to walk with Him, one day at a time, one step at a time.
Last night I went to the Sudanese Pentecostal Church Akuem and taught over 200 youth in a mud hut church with a grass thatched roof. When I walked in, the youth were separated in two groups, the teenagers in one end and the smaller children in the other. Each group was practicing their worship songs for Sunday service. These kids have no musical instruments or sound systems or fog machines or special bands. All they have are their voices and their hands and feet. They dance with all their might, jumping and raising a cloud of dust. They sing with all their heart, never having to be coaxed to sing louder. They really, really LOVE to worship! They were so sweaty and thirsty that after they sang they passed around a 5 gallon Jerrycan of water and took turns drinking before singing again! They do this twice a week for an hour and a half each time!
I shared a message from 1 John about being children who fellowship with the Light and then I handed out glow bracelets to all. Their eyes lit up and they were so excited. The next morning at work the women were asking me about the bracelets because the children were in the village and the market with them and no one had ever seen glow bracelets. So I don’t think anyone will forget the message of being a light that shines in a dark place!
And so, that wraps up another week in Sudan. I laid down this afternoon on my Saturday afternoon off and I had such a peace and I was so thankful to be living here in Sudan for such a time as this. When you are exactly where God wants you, no matter what is going on around you, you experience true peace. And so I pray that each of you experience true peace this week, even in the midst of hectic lives. Let the peace of the Lord wash over you………..