The Lord is faithful.
I have learned so much about God’s uncompromising and constant character the past two weeks. Just to sum up what I’ve learned: God is good regardless of my sin, other people’s sins, and circumstances. God is with me. Bad days do not disprove God’s love for me. God loves to redeem, restore, and make things new.
Those are some pretty good truths to rely on considering the day Katie and I had. Today was really sweet and really sad at the same time. Last week my friend “JaJa’s” grandma passed away. I asked her if there was anything we could do for her. She asked if I would go to the funeral ceremony to “carry the body.” I was a little concerned, but for those of you who know me, you know the love I have for “JaJa”. So Katie and I went this morning to be a support for her and to love her. The Lord really helped me out because I tend to get really nervous/awkward at funerals. I don’t know what questions to ask or what I should say. There was the ever-present language gap between me and most of the family, so I hope they still saw that I was wanting to be there for JaJa. Oh, and I wasn’t asked to carry the body. Phew! Close one.
It was hard because I love “JaJa” and I hate to see her and her family hurting. There, of course, was sadness that came from seeing the distress, devastation, and lack of hope that was there for the family. Family members were sobbing uncontrollably, shaking, and singing songs to Allah begging to let the grandmother into Paradise. The pain that they were feeling-of losing someone they loved so much-was so thick you could touch it. I couldn’t help but feel a little of what they were feeling; I wanted to take that pain from them. For this family that is predominately Muslim, there is no assurance of salvation. There is no promise that after they die, they won’t be in Hell. There is no escaping their sins. All I could think about was this is the way every funeral is going to be like for this family, for their village, and for this country if no one reaches them with the message of salvation through Christ.
And all of that is really challenging for me. I have to battle against my mind and my heart because I want to doubt God and His plans. I think, “Is this what it’s going to be like for “JaJa’s” children? Are they going to be pleading with Allah to let her into Paradise too?” I act as if I have more love for her then the God who formed her has. But then I remember the truths that I’ve been learning. God is good. God cares for “JaJa” and her family. He is with them. He is the only redeemer and the only One who can restore us to Himself. Seeing the devastation of sin, and the eternal effects of it, didn’t cause my heart to become angry at the Lord today. It caused my heart to press into Him and to desire to go out to the people who need Him with the hope that they are all longing for. God desires to bring His lost home.
And so today I was encouraged to be thinking about this eternal home. I am excited to die and be in Heaven. I know that sounds weird and depressing, but we’re promised an eternity with a loving God and no more sin-heartache, tears, anger. We get to worship and sing praises to the God who loves us more than anyone we’ve ever met could. We are in total bliss with brothers and sisters from every tribe, tongue, and nation worshipping the same God. I’ll be speaking Wolof fluently with Jesus. I’ll have the best French accent while singing praise songs to my King! I’ll get to eat Yassa Poulet out of the same plate as Jesus. I’ll get to worship God on the tops of mountains that I couldn’t climb in this body! I’ll get to sing songs with old friends and one’s that I don’t yet know. I’ll rest in His presence, goodness, love and beauty for an eternity.
I was gently reminded that this is not the end. Until I get to the end, I will continue to long for something greater than what the World has to offer. For those who believe in Christ, we’re promised an eternity with Him not based off of anything we could ever do but because He died in our place. I fully believe I am bound for the kingdom, and I would love Senegalese, Americans, Saudi Arabians, Indians, Brazilians and for you to come with me.
Please pray with me for “JaJa’s” family and for the gospel of eternal hope to go forth in this nation.
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”