This weekend was a busy one for us. We hosted three sets of guests in two days. That doesn't happen around here. With my three year hiatus from the world in general, this was a big deal. I willingly invited these people over, served them drinks, and food, had long conversations remaining engaged the entire time. I wasn't buried in the avalanche of anxiety . I didn't have a blinding migraine. I didn't break down crying in the bathroom from overwhwelming stress. I genuinely had a fantastic time with our friends. When we shut the front door for the final time on Saturday evening, Bryan and I collapsed onto the couch in a heap. He cupped my face and said, "Well done my girl, you were amazing."
It was a milestone for our family. I've been unable to have people over for a really long while. We tried a couple of times but I wasn't ready and it took over a week to me to recover. Anyone who has known me a long time knows that hosting has always been my thing. I have always loved a full home. Being sick in my mind robbed a lot from me. But God is restoring it a bit more every day. How I praise Him.
I want to tell you guys about two women I know. I've only met each of them once and had about three hour conversations. And they both changed my life significantly with just those conversations. I'll share about one today, and the second in my next post.
I'll start with Jem. Her life story is earth shattering; I'll save that for another post one of these days. She's a 29 year old Singaporean( did I get your age right Jem?? LOL) working as a Christian missionary, deep in the forests of Congo. She was in Nairobi about a year ago on a short sabbatical, heading home for some RnR. We got introduced by one of my best friends, and I had the pleasure of making her dinner the one night she was in the country. Her experiences in the Congo are unbelievable; I'll tell you the one that completely transformed the way that I live.
About two years ago, she and her two colleagues were asleep in their little tin house in the forest. The gunshots echoing throught the night were a lot closer to them than usual and they were all quite tense and in desperate prayer. Suddenly, there was a loud banging on their door, and a man shouting for them to walk out. They believed that the day had come; they were going to be matyred in the Congo. They opened the door and saw a group of rebels, heavily armed. The one by the door asked them who was in charge, and Jem stepped forward. She asked for God to still her heart and receive her into His glory knowing that she had served Him even unto death. But the strangest words came out of the soldier's mouth. "Our general wants you at our morning brief tomorrow, 7am sharp. He wants you to come and explain to us who this God is that you have brought to us. If you do not come, we will hunt you down and kill you."
Just typing the story makes my heart skip a beat. The magnitude of this young woman's commitment to take Jesus to the ends of the earth. She had grown up in one of the most Advanced nations in the world, but on this night she was standing infront of mercenaries in the heart of Africa, demanding that she go and preach to them; it is literally unbelievable.
Well, at the crack of dawn Jem was wide awake after a fitful night wondering what on earth she would say. Her stomach was churning with fear; she grabbed a toilet roll and walked to the outhouse at the back of their home. She prayed, "Lord I have no idea what I am going to say to this men. Help me. Help me. Please."
She abrubptly stopped in her tracks, looking down at the toilet paper and heard God tell her, "Take it with you." She thought her fears were now making her delirious. "Lord?"
And in her heart she heard, "Carry the toilet paper."
And so she did.
She walked through the dense jungle to the clearing she had been directed to. And then there they were. A mercenary army, standing like statues in neat lines, their rifles in their arms, machetes hanging from their waists. Guns that had killed men. Machetes that had hacked women and children. God had raised her up in His ways across the world from here, for this moment.
The general walked up to of her. "Tell us about your God." She was shaking down to her bone marrow, her mind completely blank. All at once, as though she had known it her entire life, she knew what the toilet paper was for. She slowly unrolled it on the grass, encircling the band of soldiers, until they were surrounded by toilet paper. She then tore of the last little square of tissue. She moved to the front of the assembly and looked into their eyes.
"Our life on earth is very short. It is like a blade of grass in the field withering in the sun by the day's end. It lasts shorter than a light mist in the early morning. It is as long as this little this tissue square.
Now. Eternity is the opposite. It is infinitely longer than the roll of tissue surrounding you. It will go on forever and ever. But what you do with this one square of tissue, will determine how you will live out all your remaining squares, and they will never run out."
"The one true God, is one and there is none other. He created all men, with eternity written on their hearts. We were born, with sin in us. That is why you have done all this despicable acts, without mercy, without shame. But there is a redeemer, God's own son, Jesus Christ. God gave him up as a sacrifice for our sins, paying the price, taking the judgement of our sin. Should you believe in Him today for your salvation, you will indeed be saved. And you will become a new creation. The old will go, and a redeemed man shall be born again."
That morning, many men came to Christ; including the general. A sweet, loving young woman, standing in the Congo jungle so tiny in comparison to these giants, spoke without a tremor in her voice about the good gospel of Jesus Christ. And God drew men to Himself.
When it was done, she walked back to her house alone, whispering praise to her Lord.
I'm crying now, telling you this story. Seeing a lost soul become a member of the family of God, is singularly the most joyful experience for a Christian.
Why did I type out such a long story, seemingly completely unrelated to my last post? This is why.
While you were reading all of that, you did not think of yourself. And that really is the whole point. Zoom out guys. Zoom far out, and look at the eternal picture.
Obsession with the number on the scale is a literal waste of time.
Coveting other people's lives, their husbands and wives, their full bank accounts, their big houses and tracts of land? A collosal waste of time.
Your preoccupation with being the best in your field, worshipping at the altar of ambition, recognition and unparalleled success? You are wasting precious time.
NONE OF THAT MATTERS.
All of it will pass away. We have one little square people. Just one square. Should we not live each day on earth with the gospel of Christ at the forefront of our minds? It is so foolish to postpone defining your relationship with your Maker. It's just as foolish to deny He exists when you still have to stand before Him at judgement. Not believing in Him, or putting your faith in another god will not change that reality.
That's it in a nutshell. The weight gain, the lack of cash, the unhappy realtionship, the lifeless career...it's never that serious people. It's never that serious. Not in the grand scheme of things. We're going to leave them all behind in our first tissue squares. What we need to firm up once and for all, is how our eternity is going to pan out. To be blunt, there are only two ways this is going to end: heaven with the Lord. Or hell, without HIm. That's the long-term planning that should has us preoccupied.
From my previous posts, you've seen that even as a Christian, my glasses fall off frequently and everything goes out of focus. I just run around like a headless chicken forgettting the One that is within me.
Thank God for His Bible, that sharpens the resolution of our lives everytime we read it.
Believe the gospel. Live out your square with a purpose and a goal.
Then all these other things will fade into the peripheries of your vision, and you will see the truth at last. The truth that the armed rebels saw that cold morning two years ago, deep in the bowels of the Congo.
Christian, wife, mom, doctor, and an alien on earth, on my way to the city of God.