"I believe in the love of God, it is an orphan's wildest dream, it is a Narrow Little Road, it is an ever widening desert stream" ~ Red Mountain hymn

"This narrow little road may be filled with both abundant joy and humiliating sorrow; surely, even its promised Divine acceptance cannot assure it's travelers absense of profound rejection. Indeed, this narrow road may be filled with a great many things, but the one thing it truly lacks is regret!" ~Debbie Sue

Monday, March 14, 2011

Goodbye Ganta

I can’t thank you all enough for your prayers during this amazing but absolutely crazy month of March.

For those of you who have been praying for the rural life festivals in Liberia these past 2 weeks, God has answered your prayers and has done remarkable things in the hearts of so many children of God. Tens of thousands of people heard about the new life and deep love offered through Jesus Christ, and angels rejoiced every night as hundreds stepped onto that narrow little road that leads to life…

oh what an unbelievable story to be a part of (literally)!

In fact, I would go on to say that if the stories you hear me share in my own life or in the Scriptures seem possible, normal, or even remotely believable (except by faith) then you are probably not truly hearing His words or seeing the powerful hand of God at work. That's why He repeats over and over again in the first 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) after sharing such stories,

 "He who has eyes (of faith) let him see and he who has ears let Him hear."

A few nights ago I read in Psalm 16, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!”

I couldn’t help but be reminded of this truth while I watched the hearts of hungry and deeply hurting Liberians joyfully bring their burdens to God’s throne of grace with confidence (truly, imagine the multitudes that were running toward the "alter" dancing and singing and praying with tears of joy in their eyes).

The most amazing part to me was personally praying with those who fully understood that God's Message was one that would feed their hungry souls and carry them into eternity; that it didn’t necessarily promise money or new things (but rather endless eternal riches in Christ), or an immediate change in circumstances (but instead a loving friend, a Savior, a guide, a comforter, a peace, a fortress in times of trouble, provider in times of need, and a sure future in Heaven).

I believe that so many heard the true Gospel and came ready to respond to God’s promise “for He satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry heart with good things” (Psalm 107:9) and He promises to bring peace throughout the raging storms of life-

“Oh Lord, You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You!” Isaiah 26:3

One image that stands out in my mind was from the first night of the festival; RV Brown from Tampa FL (the largest most passionate evangelist I’ve ever seen in my life) had just spoke of his unbelievable encounters with the mercies of God, his undeniable healing and his miraculous transformation only through Jesus Christ, when this image pierced my heart like a sword. Suddenly, I watched an aisle open up amidst the crowd of 5,000+ people as two men faithfully carried this terribly crippled blind woman to the front to receive prayer and healing in Jesus Name. As Rev. Brown prayed for her and declared that Jesus was the only true Healer, I couldn’t help but be reminded in my spirit of a story in the Gospels (Mark 2:3-5) where four men lowered their paralyzed friend through the ceiling into a jam packed room so he could have a chance to meet and be healed by Jesus. The Healer ("Good God Almighty- as RV Brown would say) recognized their faith and healed the man immediately. How undeserving are we who believe to partake in any such power and yet Christ declares it so (2 Peter 1:3).

As I remember all that I experienced this last weekend in Ganta, I can’t help but allow these tears to freely flow down my face.

I was reunited with so many of the lovely smiles that had embraced me and taught me in ways I could never begin to fully express. I was able to walk about 5 miles throughout the surrounding communities I lived among and just pray that God would continue to grow the seeds that were planted during my time here- that He would continue to bring hope and healing to these beautiful people. I hopped on a motorbike (fully taking in that moment of awestruck wonder and breeze on my face) and said goodbye to many of my previous co-workers and me dear kiddos at Hope for the Nations. I couldn’t believe how the children had grown and my heart melted into the red dirt road as I saw their sweet smiles and joyful hearts running toward me; I knew in that moment that the Jesus I love is the same God today who declared Himself to Hagar in Genesis 16:13 as the God who sees her. That day, I knew that despite the pain and sickness and even death that so many of my dear friends are facing in Ganta that Jesus would never leave them or forsake them, but that He would heal them in every way He has promised this side of eternity, if they would put their whole faith and trust in Him alone.

Oh friends, these truths have definitely been penetrating my heart deeply the last few years, and especially in the last few months. Not only have I had several people close to me die, but God has allowed me to face some emotional afflictions and devastating rejection while being continually plagued by a physical “thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). I say this only to boast in the fact that Jesus has remained absolutely faithful to me and to His character through it all. This previous passage goes on to say,

 “(Apostle Paul speaking) To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great truths… there was given me a thorn in my flesh (given by Satan, allowed by God)…three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away but He said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness!’...

...Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I even delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in physical difficulties...

For when I am weak, then I am truly strong!”

1 comment:

  1. Debbie,
    your heart is so sweet - i can't wait to get to hang out with you and talk. i'll be praying that the rest of your time in africa is precious...