Thursday, March 26, 2015

Joy along the journey

I have been trying to find the words for what had been a mystery to me. In the past few months, even though I know how hard life in the bush of South Sudan is, I have longed with all my heart to go back. I can't understand it! We had a comfortable home, supportive church, and many friends back in the States. Life on the fields is hard. I am daily pushed beyond my limits, forced to live every minute, every day by the Lord's strength alone. So why do I want that over the comfort and stability of our life in South Carolina?!
    I was rereading a book called "The Insanity of God" and suddenly the author, Nik Ripken, made it all become clear to me. The chapter was about Chinese believers and evangelists who had lived under very real threat and danger because of their faith. Ripken explained that, " the believers in China exhibited a constant joyfulness in the midst of harsh circumstances. They never denied or down-played the danger. They never made light of it. They were painfully aware of the reality of their lives. Still, they exhibited an undeniable, irrepressible joy."
    Wow. This is my prayer, with every fiber of my being. I'm definitely not suffering or persecuted like these Chinese believers were. But there are very real risks to going back to live in South Sudan at this time. I have been kind of perplexed that I have NO FEAR, just PEACE. I have asked myself if I'm out of touch of reality, or if I'm just so eager to get back that I'm not thinking about how it really will be. I know it will be hard. I am not denying it or down playing it. But in God's amazing, gracious way, He has given me such joy in these circumstances.
At the end of the chapter Nik Ripken concludes that, " they (Chinese believers) embraced what they considered the adventure of following Jesus. "
    That is my desire: to embrace this adventure.

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