Saturday, July 30, 2011

oh, that we might know the Lord.

I vividly remember one night sitting  in the Voss reading room the spring of my junior year reading 1 Thessalonians and being struck dumb by this verse.

"Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words."

I read it and I thought about what was promised to us, what was clearly laid out as our greatest encouragement: that we will be with the Lord. Would I be content to be with the Lord? Was that what I longed for- just Him? Just His presence? Did I get comfort and joy from the idea of being with Him forever? The answer was no. It didn´t sound satisfying. It didn´t sound bad, but I wasn´t longing for His presence. I was living to try to honor Him, show His love to others, obey His voice... but I wasn´t just seeking to know Him. To just be with Him was not my greatest joy.

The next week in HNGR class they asked us to write down one prayer request- something the office would pray over us, something we would pray over each other and ask our communities to pray for us. I knew immediately what mine needed to be. "Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord... ´For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings´" (Hosea 6), ¨That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.¨(Phil 3:10). That was my prayer over HNGR and it´s been my main prayer ever since. I return to Hosea 6 over and over and over again, convicted over and over for my greatest joy and my greatest comfort to be just my God, His face and His presence.

I am in Bolivia. And I am praying. All the time, this past week, I am praying... over the girls, and over the house, and the staff, and Lauren, and a good amount of time for me... even here for two weeks, I can get lonely (honestly, as much fun as I am having, i keep wondering how on earth I did this for six months??! Current interns, yall are amazing).

And as I´ve prayed, God has been very clear with me about where He is, here. He is here. My God speaks Spanish. My God speaks Quechua. My Jesus is the Jesus of my girls scared in their beds, or without beds, He was with them as they lay under bridges. He is the Jesus of my sweet host mom as she bakes bread and hums her Quechua hymns and can not read and has never left the country. He is the counselor of these staff in all their meetings as they pray over how to lead and reach these girls, as  they structure this organization and lay their own hearts and burdens before Him.

I keep having the feeling I get sometimes when I see someone I love in a new element. Whenever I stop by my parents´ offices and see them dressed up at work and hear them interact with their coworkers in their "professional" voices. When I have gotten to spend time with a good friend and their family for the first time and I see them as a sister and daughter, not just as cool fun coffee-dater heart-sharer. Like, "Oh... I thought I knew you, but all this time you had these other sides I´d never gotten to see". Isn´t it weird sometimes, to think that our parents aren´t just our parents but were teenagers, spouses, friends? That our friends are workers, lovers, their parents´children? Even my closest closest friends have places they´ve gone where I have not been with them, where they were opened in a way I haven´t seen and showed sides of themselves I may never know.

And that´s how I´ve been feeling about God this week- clearer than I remember it even from when I was here on HNGR. "God, You speak Quechua??". "Yup." "And... You were with my host mom as she grew up in the campo." "Yes." "God, You are someone to these girls I have never had to know." "Yes."

Sometimes I am overwhelmed, when I casually ask God what His spirit is praying over these loved ones of mine... and I hear answers I am unfamiliar with, that I don´t understand. Part of me wants to run away because sometimes I don´t like the answers; and sometimes part of me just doesn´t want to bother to press in to hear a new thing He is saying, to see a new side of Him. I know God in Wheaton, in my psych classes, in my closest friendships and in coffee shops. That is comfortable. I am lazy and it is easy to stay there; I am scared to find the parts of my Lord I don´t know.

But do I want to know Him? Then I need to press in to see who He is here.
To know that He has been here long before me.
My God has so many different sides to Him.
Thanking Him for letting me see even a glimpse of more of who He is.

"all i once held dear, built my life upon
all this world reveres, and wars to own
all i once thought gain, i now count as loss
spent and worthless now compared to this
knowing You, Jesus,
knowing You,
there is no greater thing."

thank you all so much for your prayers for me and these girls.

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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.