Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Face to Face

There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. Colossians 1:24 The Message

In Africa there is a saying “God is good, all the time – all the time God is good.” I like that. I come home from the journey and find myself regularly repeating the phrase. And yet, in Africa, I am confronted with images God is not good - and certainly not all the time. I see children barefoot, hungry, dirty beyond belief, with flies feeding on their open untreated wounds. God is good?

We stood on the edge of a hilltop overlooking the city dump. The valley so deep, the people below were hard to identify amidst the mounds of trash they sifted through. The Nakuru Relief & Development ministry, which brought myself and three other women of the Fellowship Bible ministry team, teaches the homeless to forage through trash for discarded food to feed their children. Perhaps it was their smallness in the immensity of the wasteland that overwhelmed me. Or maybe it was the children holding our hands, excited to have visitors in a place few outsiders dare to invade. God is good?

… I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start. Luke 22:31 The Message

We stood on hallowed ground. Taken to a place on earth where faith could fail, confronted with the realization those we saw from a distance, to survive merely prolongs daily suffering. Face to face with insurmountable indication of God’s absence, we were challenged by His presence. “Can you be My witness when you return from this place? Can you say God is good all the time?”

We stood the test and we return to you, to tell of a place in Africa where God resides in the ministry of faithful, doing what they can to help those in dire need and to teach them not only where to find food, but where to look for life.

We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable … Colossians 1:10-11