In the midst of this worry, we get comfortable. We get stagnant. We get lukewarm. We start enjoying our ipods, our TV shows, our food, our beds, our trashy movies. We love our comfortable things, but we feel a subtle tugging at our hearts that something is very wrong. There is an ache for something different, something new. It’s as if our soul craves adventurous living, even though we do not know it. We feel this yearning for something new because in our uncomfortable state, we crave Jesus more, we rely on him more and we are willing to do anything possible to be closer to his undying love.
I was at this place, wondering what Jesus had in store for me. I have been through my share of sort of scary things, where God asked me to step out of my comfort zone. I helped my parents start a church, I went to college at a young age, I started a company with my mom and some friends. But at this point in my life I realized that I was not a radically different person like I should be. I was not doing all these things for God, but for myself instead.
Upon arriving in Haiti, the sights and smells are so different than what you are used to. Trash sits burning in the street. Makeshift tents are everywhere and you can see little babies poking their heads out from behind the tent tarps. Cattle wander in the rubble of homes that were hit in the earthquake. Horns beep. People yell. You feel a sense of adventure as you ride through the streets – a murmur of unpredictable danger and excitement.
Then you also feel the heartbreaking, horrifying sadness. You visit homes where babies are dying in dark rooms, shut away from the world. You feel hopelessness for them, brokenness for their pain, and the injustice of their situation. You hold them and play with them, hoping that one day they will live to see hope again.
In these orphanages and hospitals, there are more cribs than floor space. There are too few volunteers and so many babies are left sobbing, neglected in their cribs. Many babies will pee, poop and throw up from sickness and it will sit on the floor until someone cleans it up.
Some babies have cuts, sores, runny noses, tuberculosis, terrible sickness and tubes in their noses. The floor is concrete and dusty and most toddlers have no shoes. They giggle so much when you tickle them and call you mama if you spend more than ten minutes with them. Their playground is a pile of rubble - the remnants of a tiny home that collapsed in the earthquake.
On the hopeful side, you visit ministries where mission minded women are working harder than anyone you’ve seen before. They are working to make it so Haitian women do not have to give up their children for adoption, but can instead make a living and see their babies grow up. You see hope and desperation. But more than anything, you find love.
This was the most outstanding aspect of my recent trip to Haiti. The love I encountered. I met so many Christ-followers in Haiti that were TRULY world changers. These people were the very few that gave up all they had and flew to a place that many would shudder to go.
These Christians that I met in Haiti were going without, day and night, to ensure a future for the Haitian people they worked with. The frivolous things we care about meant nothing to them. They do not stress about texting, facebook, tv shows and hot water in their showers like we do. They are not as concerned about their cars or their income - and they pray that God will provide when the time is right. What really concerned them was making a difference in someone’s life. The love of Jesus radiated from these Christian people, who are helping local men and women all over Haiti. And trust me, it is not an easy job.
I met a 20 year old boy who went on a missions trip to Haiti last year. He liked it so much that he came back and started a medical clinic, and now works with Haitian doctors to help others. He is flying out to the Congo within the next few months, and he hasn’t even been to medical school yet!
I also met a group of college kids on a missions trip who did not just go out and serve Haiti during the day, but took communion and worshipped through song when they came back at night.
I met a couple that sold everything they owned and moved all the way across the world from Australia, expecting to live in a tent to serve Jesus.
I met people who came down here on internships and felt so compelled to help that they just decided to stay full time and help wherever they could.
I met women that worked around the clock to deliver babies at a medical clinic for teen moms and that are actively looking to expand their facilities to better help save Haitian women's' lives.
As I adjusted to how different Haiti is from America – cold showers, dust, wearing the same clothes every day, riding in the back of a pick up, traffic, scary drivers, usually no internet, unsafe foods, disease, unclean water, political unrest, no air conditioning, intense heat, orphaned children everywhere, extreme pollution, garbage on every street, extrem poverty, heartbreak and death – I realized that in that place of being out of my element, I experienced the love of Christ more than anywhere else in the world. In that place of uncomfortability, you must rely on Jesus more than ever. The relying on Jesus actually feels really amazing once you actually give in and start trusting! :)
I don’t want this post to come off as harsh or blunt. But coming back to America has disgusted me. We think our lives are so hard here. Come spend a day in Haiti. Hold a baby and see the young mothers who drop them off. Then you will really see heartbreak at it’s worst. How can I sit here and whine about my phone not working or my shower not being hot, when somewhere a teenage mother is being forced to part with her precious baby? How can I complain about a long day at work, when some missionaries are working day and night to save women’s lives? How can I wish I was financially more well off when tonight someone is starving to death? Jesus asks me to give up everything to follow him….can I really do this? Can you do this?
Often times we try to smooth this scary question over with, “Well, God hasn’t called me to do something that radical.” But Jesus asks us to pick up our cross and follow him. Am I doing that? Are you? Where in your life are you living uncomfortably for the sake of someone else? Where in your life are you being radical for Jesus? If you can’t think of an area, than it is time to start rethinking the purpose of your life.
I am going to leave you with a quote that I absolutely love.
Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers. - Francis Chan
Okay, guys..... so spiritually speaking, you died. Now your new life is hidden with Christ. Christ should now be your WHOLE life. Take up your cross and follow him. Be consumed. Be the light Jesus has created you to be. Do not consider this home, but be looking for your greater purpose… a purpose where you consider others more important than yourself. Bring justice to the injustice. Bring hope to the hopeless. Bring love to the hateful. Bring salvation to the lost.
Drown in the radiant love Jesus has showered upon you and show others how to do the same.
Give up your life and you will gain everything. Go change the world.
2 Corinthians 6
Even in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power.
Even when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
Dear, dear Church, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!