In less than two weeks I leave for Burkina Faso, West Africa.
I am told the experience is going to change my life. Or at least my perspective on life.
That scares me.
Several months ago I sat in church and saw the video clip inviting people to join the team going back to Burkina Faso. My heart started beating fast. I knew right then the invitation was for me, and it wasn’t from the church. It was from God himself.
I cried and I ignored. Then I cried some more. I didn’t want to go to Africa. But God told me it was the Way – the way he wanted to answer my prayer. That prayer that I ask so often for him to make me like himself.
So I am going to Africa to be like Jesus. Jesus was a servant. So I am going to serve. To bring hope. To give life. To show relief. To be a savior.
Or am I?
The people I will meet have no running water. They sleep in huts. They cook in a pot outside. They have never seen themselves in a mirror. They have never seen a mirror.
Compared to me they are beyond poverty.
“Tell me they don’t know. Tell me they’re oblivious. Tell me they’re happy”, I said as I looked at picture after picture of the people there.
“They are happier than you are or ever will be”, was the response.
And yet they have joy. And I sit hear in my warm house, in perfect health, with food busting from the refrigerator. Consumed. Worried. Tired. Stressed. Miserable.
In a podcast I listened to this past weekend from Craig Groeschel he said this, “You want to know that you’re in need? Go to a third world country. You feel good about yourself for a while. For a couple of days you hurt with them, hurt for them, and then something switches along the way. And suddenly you realize the more I do for them, the more they’re doing for me. The more I give to them, the more I’m receiving in some crazy way I didn’t expect. Then one day you wake up and say, wait just a second. They’re financially broke and empty, but they have something I don’t have. You see the strangest joy in the middle of nowhere. They have nothing and seem to have everything. And you realize I’m in need, too. We’re mutually in need, and we both need God.” summarized from Craig Groeschel’s sermon “Those People Part 1: Those Overly Needy People”
God is sending me to help the needy as a disguise. A mask shows a needless woman’s face going to the other side of the world to share her needlessness with the needy.
God’s intention is to strip back that mask and reveal that I am the needy. I am the broken. I am the impoverished. I need the Savior.
My culture puts the world at my disposal. But joy is still lost in the abundance.
I am not going to serve the needy. I am the needy going to relish in a joy I do not know.
“But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O LORD, do not delay.” Psalm 70:5