[First, I want to apologise to people who I haven't emailed back, yet. I received them and am really grateful to hearing your voice and words when I open them up. It's really encouraging and rewarding to come to the cafe and have emails from you guys. I will try to respond as I can. If I do not respond by July 4, I will definitely respond that week of July 6th, when I come back and access will be easier! Really, sincerely..sorry.]
This past weekend, I went to the village. It was about a 10 hour drive from Lagos due to the bad roads and a couple of go-slows, but we made it. Seeing family was really nice...even if we did not talk much. It's different just coming by myself...normally my Dad or Mom would talk a lot with everyone, and us kids would kind of hang out with each other or talk to our cousins sometimes, but I always had them for comfort and conversation. Comfort...something I've been thinking about.
I look at my life. I see nothing but comfort. A roof over my head...food on the table...a school to attend...if I wanted to name all the material things I had it would take a long time...so of course I'm comfortable. But then there is this element of conversation that comes in? The silent conversations are sometimes the ones I hear the most.
On the car ride back from the village yesterday, I was talking with myself. I read the verse in John, chapter 4, verse 48, I think..It says something (I don't have a bible on me right now) like "When will you stop asking for miraculous signs and wonders?" Something along the lines of "Why do you need a miracle or sign to believe in me?" So why do we?
Two thoughts come to my mind: First, wait...stop....we already do have these miracles around us...check out the sky outside? the setting sun? the human body? the intricacies of DNA, cellular respiration, the healing of the human body? Are these not miracles themselves? Second, what about the life that Jesus led along with the miracles he performed? These ideas of love, compassion, grace, mercy, humility, good...to me...the very essence and definition of these words are desirable...and if we desire them....what is at stake if we try to live by them? What is more, having something mightier than you, mightier than me, mightier than money...what if we had something bigger helping us to live out a life of these qualities?
I think for me, part of my the disbelief was so intentional...because I know that if you choose to follow and take up the cross, my whole life changes...and all of a sudden, it's not about me. I think there was a fear that it would be hard...a fear that I have to face the problems I see in the world not as an observer but as a participant. Because, then it's on me (with others of course) to live out Luke 4:16...because deep in all of our hearts, we want to change things. We don't like to see someone who cannot walk or afford healthcare...we don't want to see someone bleeding on the side of the road...we don't desire to see the news of violence continuing in the Niger Delta. For me, it's taken a lot of thinking...a lot of hope...and a lot of faith...to want to change...and to desire that change. I know I still have a loooooooong way to go on desiring it more...to have a true heart of love...but if we look around at each other...we all have stories. stories of our day, week, year, and life. If it were just about me, why would we have those stories?
I look around me...and I can't deny I believe anymore. We can't deny we believe anymore...because when we do, we are only taking a step backwards from the change that so many of us deep down inside desire to see, witness, and be.
Let's take our hearts to a higher place
Transforming this body to an act of grace
In everything we do, a smile on our face
As we run this race, this race, this race.