Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Here?

I spent most of the day today reading news articles. The situation in Africa right now tears my heart apart. There are people dying in Zimbabwe for lack of food. I read of people who are praying for berries to grow so they will have something to eat. This one article really struck me, especially the picture. I had a good Christmas this year, but at times I felt that I couldn't really enjoy it. The entire day, I kept looking at all my gifts, thinking of this one picture, and almost crying as I thought, I have so much!! I wished I could share it with these people. Next year, I think that I will ask not for gifts, but donations in my name. My grandmother gave a donation to Heifer International in my name. The e-mail they sent me said that they had sent a flock of geese to a poor African family.

For some reason, I love Africa with all of my heart. Some of my favorite people are from Africa. I have at least a dozen friends from there. As I read of the thousands of people in Zimbabwe who are dying of cholera (which is so easily treated!) I long so much to go there. Why must I be here, in America, when I long to be working in Africa or India? I want to hold the hurting, and I want to be with the poor. I can't forget how my African friends have begged me to go to their countries and bring medicines to their people. I want so much to bring them medicines and show them the love of Jesus. So many of them are dying without even hearing His name.

And I think of the stories that I have heard from missionaries I know in Bolivia.  There are 2,000 street kids in one city alone.  The political situation in the country results in much rioting and many strikes, leaving people without transportation and often unable to get food.  Cocaine is the country's biggest crop.  Children as young as five are addicted to drugs and to sniffing glues.  HIV/AIDS and TB are common, and not many are treated.  I would love to go there and work with the children of Bolivia some day, and tell them about a Man who died for them.   

Why must I be here?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Wow, I'm on a writing streak! Two posts in one day. Must be a record! I got in one of my old writing moods tonight (I don't get them too much during school....) and I just had to stay up and write this. So I thought I'd post it. I'll explain more of the background in a few days. For now, I'll just say that November has been the worst month of my life. This semester was difficult, but it was going well until about a month ago. Then everything I'd worked for came crashing down around me.

These past few weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have been humbled more than I ever wished to be. Humility doesn't come easily, especially when you struggle with pride as much as I do. In the middle of all the heartache, I just kind of collapsed. The past few weeks I’ve been sitting on the couch, with my lip eternally stuck out, pouting to God and hating the world. Why God? Why does life have to be so hard? Why can’t I just be in heaven with You? Why do I have to go through hardships?

Then I began to realize. What if Jesus had felt this way? He left heaven to suffer here on earth. I long for heaven, but I have never tasted its joys. Jesus knew all about heaven’s joys. He was the King of heaven, who came to be humiliated on earth. His entire life on earth was about suffering. Yet He did it for joy. “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Heb. 12:2) That is something I’m just now grasping: how our suffering actually can be for joy. The other day as I was listening to a song on the radio, I realized that my main problem with this whole situation is that I haven’t been focused on hope. What hope we have in Christ!! I have not experienced anything even close to what other people have experienced in the way of hardships. Compared to Job, I have lost nothing at all. Yet Job still fell down and worshipped his Creator. What a greater, more glorifying thing it would be if I were to take hold of God and hold on so, so tightly during my hard times.

I have realized that it is okay for me to not be okay. God gives us strength in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), and somehow He has designed it so that when we fade away to nothing, He is even more glorified. But it is not okay for me to sit and feel sorry for myself, to not read my Bible, and to sap the strength from all those around me. I need to get my strength from God alone. Yes it is okay to have Christians who share our burdens. That is what Christian community is all about. But it is wrong for me to rely on them more than God. And somehow in this weakness, I’ve gotten further from God rather than closer to Him. I’ve allowed myself to believe that since I was depressed, I didn’t need to read my Bible. That because I didn’t really feel like praying, it was okay to not pray. After all, other people are praying for me, right?! That should be enough. Surely God will understand. But why in the world would I not want to sit and pour my heart out to God? He is my best Friend, my Husband, and the only thing in the universe that matters. Oh my heart breaks to think of my complete weakness! I don’t even have to strength to cling to Him when I need Him the most. What a mighty God we serve, that He loves us in spite of our weaknesses.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Life, Big Difference

I found this at http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com. The story comes from the Billy Graham Library. What an amazing and encouraging story!!

Edward Kimble and the Shoe Salesman

It was July 1, 1885 when Edward Kimble felt the tugging of the Spirit to share his faith with a young shoe salesman he knew.

At first Kimble vacillated, unsure if he should talk to the man. But he finally mustered his courage and went into the shoe store. There Kimble found the salesman in the back room stocking shoes, and he began to share his faith with him.

As a result, the young shoe salesman prayed and received Jesus Christ that day. That shoe salesman's name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the greatest evangelists of his generation.

But the story doesn't end there. Several years later a pastor and well-known author by the name of Frederick B. Meyer heard Moody preach. Meyer was so deeply stirred by Moody's preaching that he himself embarked on a far-reaching evangelistic ministry.

Once when Meyer was preaching, a college student named Wilbur Chapman accepted Christ as a result of his presentation of the gospel. Chapman later employed a baseball player to help him prepare to conduct an evangelistic crusade. That ballplayer, who later became a powerful evangelist himself, was Billy Sunday.

In 1924 a group of businessmen invited Billy Sunday to hold an evangelistic campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina, which resulted in many people coming to Christ. Out of that revival meeting a group of men formed a men's prayer group to pray for the world. They prayed for Charlotte to have another great revival.

God sent another evangelist named Mordecai Hamm. Hamm went to Charlotte in 1934 to hold a crusade. Ham's crusade went well, even though it did not have many converts. On one of the last nights under the big tent one tall, lanky young man walked up the aisle to receive Christ.

That man's name was Billy Graham.

Talk about a chain of events! And it all started with an ordinary Christian named Edward Kimble, who reached D.L. Moody, who reached Wilbur Chapman, who reached Billy Sunday, who reached Mordecai Ham, who reached Billy Graham.

Look at what God has done over these many years because of the faithfulness of one person.