"Patience is a virtue," they say.
Honestly, I wish "they" wouldn't say that! Patience does not come naturally to me -- it is almost always a battle with myself. Dreams of the future and the myriad of unknowns / what-ifs fill my mind with hopes and worries. When someone lets me down or does something disappointing, I find myself lacking patience towards him or her. The suffering in the world begins to overwhelm me and I find myself longing for Christ's return right this instant. But, there always seems to be waiting involved.
Why is patience so hard? Can you relate?
Try to imagine spending the majority of your life, over 60 years, living in a war zone.
Bullets and bombs, rapes and burglaries, fires and food-loss -- all of these things are a daily reality. Your family has struggled, week after week, just to survive. Would you believe in a personal God who loves you?
Last night, I fell asleep angry.
Things did not go the way I had planned, I looked quite silly in front of a crowd of people, and I felt put-upon by someone else's mistake. It was a rough evening, and I was mad. So I went to bed.
How did I feel when I woke up today? You guessed it: still angry, and my heart was no more forgiving than the night before. What does Scripture have to say about all of this?
Since the news cycle is not reporting on this, you might not know:
As you are reading this post, there are families in Africa who do not know where they may find their next meal. Grandparents, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters are all currently experiencing the pangs of hunger due to ongoing drought and in some areas, violent conflict. Cattle have died, water has dried up, and crops have failed. Outside assistance is absolutely necessary in these countries, and lives are literally at stake.
In order to provide emergency food, we need you. You can make hope possible for these families right now by donating online here, and choosing "Africa Famine Relief 2017" as your designation.
What is a "Biblical worldview" you might ask? Perhaps you have heard the phrase thrown around nonchalantly in the past. Or maybe, you just haven't had the opportunity to care about what it means yet.
Before we define it and explain what it implicates, we must first back up and define what a "worldview" is in general. We are about to get a little bit philosophical, so get ready to dive in.
What if when you pull into the entrance of your neighborhood this evening after work, you notice billows of thick black smoke?
Your heart races as you pull around the corner, following the smoke -- then you see the flames. They bounce ferociously from rooftop to rooftop, quickly ravaging your neighbors' homes one after another as firefighters struggle to thwart the blaze. Reality sets in as you pull around the firetrucks and see it -- the heap of smoldering ashes that use to be your home. Everything is gone. The feeling of hopelessness crushes you as you consider what happens next, standing with your neighbors thankful to even be alive.
This is the story of over 1,000 people in the Philippines who tragically lost their homes to fire in two separate communities. Within a matter of just a few months, two events involving massive fires burned through families' homes in a matter of minutes, leaving them with nothing.
Take a deep breath.
Inhale... Then exhale...
Have you ever considered that the breath you just took was a gift from the Creator of the Universe?
The local church members anxiously gathered around the large deep-bore drill as it loudly hammered into the ground. They had been desperate for access to clean water for so long, and the hot Ugandan sun beating down on them only heightened their eager concern. Not only would the well provide clean water for the church members, but also it would serve as a vital outreach to the rest of the community.
The operator continued to press the lever down, sweating as he encouraged the drill hammer deeper and deeper. Then, all of a sudden, a loud "crack" came from inside the machine. The drill hammer had broken, unable to burrow through the thick layer of hard rock deep underground.
The operator and his colleagues had done all they could do. The church members, totally deflated, began looking at each other with sadness, many of them asking, "what now?".
Tomorrow, July 4th, we celebrate the concept of "freedom" in the United States.
For some, this holiday is a patriotic celebration of the history of U.S. independence from Great Britain in 1776. For others, it is a celebration of the sociopolitical rights that citizens of the U.S. freely hold that citizens elsewhere often do not have the privilege of holding.
But for followers of Jesus Christ, the concept of "freedom" is something much, much deeper.