Life has been busy, as it has for you, and making time to stop is a discipline. I’m busy working on opening a Hope Center (community site where we provide food and other outreaches for the poor). Day and night I’ve worked to get all the details, which are many, sorted.
I’m forever explaining myself away.
Why I’ve not posted a blog.
Why my husband and I choose to keep pursuing overseas missions.
Why, why, why do I feel indebted to explain everything away to everyone?
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”Romans 13:8 NASB
Explain Things Away
Inside I feel, as I suppose many of us do, the need to be understood and accepted. I easily concur with the above verse from Romans. The only debt I have to others is to love them. Even so, I want others to love and accept me and my natural tendency is to explain things away to gain approval.
What a waste of energy it is to work for the approval of others. The opinions people have of us can change as swiftly as the direction of the wind.
Let Me Tell You About This Lady
In our church here in Bujumbura, we have a lovely lady who is one of our cell leaders. To get by, she farms and sells homemade soap. She works hard and shares her harvest with poorer single mothers who attend her home cell group. When they arrive at her home for meeting, she has a meal prepared for them and spends time listening to them, praying for their needs, and trying to help them find a way to feed their young children.
This past Sunday, as usual, we chatted about her group, about certain ones we want to help, and as she talked I marveled at her smile. Her joy is almost tangible when talking about her ladies and the change in the lives of her members. Her frustration also rises to the surface when she feels she’s not breaking through and making a difference.
What most people don’t know about her is that she is 68 years old (she won’t mind me saying so), has had 10 children and was a pastor’s wife in one of our churches. Her husband died about 11 years ago from complications of a stroke he had a few years prior. Two of her 10 children were poisoned and died. She has had to face the harsh realities of life as a widow in Africa. I can’t imagine what she has had to endure.
How has she found her joy in all the suffering she’s lived through? She’s learned to dance, to close out the pain and look to Jesus for her comfort. Once the music starts during any kind of service, she will quickly make her way to a place where she can dance. Of dancing she says, “Inanipatia nafasi ya kuonyesha furaha yangu.” Translated, “It gives me a chance to show my joy.”
No one, besides God, knows the price she has had to pay, the price any of us have paid to get to where we are today. There’s no explaining away the work of God in each of us because His grace meets us all where we need to be met. No one else, besides ourselves, can “get” what He has done in and for us. That alone gives us reason for joy.
I’ve decided, instead of explaining, to follow my friend’s example and dance. God knows why I’m dancing and He is the best Partner.
“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”Zephaniah 3:17 NKJ