Uniting Brazil (intro)

Updates on the Brazilian mission

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Unconditional Love

At the Rescue House, where we house a few street children, it's Saturday afternoon, and we've sent the two younger boys away on a camp for all of this last week. The house has been a lot easier to live in with only the older boys, to be honest. We've had way less fights than usual, some incredibly constructive conversations as well as spiritually deep devotional times. All these boys have seemed focused, helpful, and excited about everyday. Which has been very interesting. How could two young boys cause so much difficulty with these teenagers? Ah, of course!! It's because those two younger ones are masters at provocation. They taunt and tempt and push everyone's buttons just because they're boys, and thats what young boys do.

I have not been looking forward to today, at all. I know they're supposed to come back in the early afternoon, but we're having some really constructive time with the older ones, still.
In fact, just earlier this morning, while sitting on a trampoline, the other Tia (lady) that was on duty had an hour long conversation with all the boys about the spiritual difficulties they've had in their lives and how that may be affecting them now. Some of them had been offered as sacrifices to spirits by family members, and others have been cursed, and they're still living with some of those after effects in their lives. This kind of conversation needs a stable environment. One free from a short attention span. Free from deliberate irritation. Free from the younger, uninterested input. We still have that environment, now. We can still do more!
Two o'clock came and went, and the other two boys still aren't back. This was supposed to be the part of my day when the difficulties were starting. So we carried on the day. My mind is working back and forth about what could possibly go wrong, and now postponing the waiting time seems even more torturous. These boys could tear this place down in one night, if they wanted to. I remember the last time I was here when all the boys returned from time away from each other. Emotions overflowed into many fisticuffs and cursing. Maybe we should take all these boys away to the lake and wait for the younger ones to settle before bringing them back home. Hopefully they'll be superbly tired when the gate opens and they arrive.
Three o'clock. The gate bell rings. Oh no. This is it. Play time is over, it's time to get the gloves out and be ready for absolutely anything that is about to happen. I go inside and fetch the gate remote. I'm pretty much going through the motions now. This is not the most exciting part of my day at all. I point it to the gate and push the button.
The gate is not even half way opened when I catch sight of one of the boys. He looks up and our eyes lock. He gets half way through shouting my name, slams the car door closed and sprints full speed. He sprints through the gate up the driveway, past his brothers, past the other boys at the house. He's not even smiling. He's got a look of shear determination to diminish the distance between us that has apparently been way too long! From a full two meters away he leaps off the ground and spreads his arms out forcing me to catch him in a tight embrace. He holds onto me, hugging so tightly, but unable to say anything because we don't speak the same language. Verbally. I hold him back and my heart is filled with so much joy! So much peace and happiness. This family is complete, again! We're back together, we have our two missing pieces back! I can't even believe how long this week has suddenly felt, now knowing that I haven't seen them for that long!!
Every fear, every negative thought, every negative anticipation I had: gone!, in a single, glorious moment! Yeah, I'm very sure that we're going to have trouble tonight (in fact, two hours later, the youngest of these two got so angry in being told he had to take a shower, that our dining hall ended up with rice, beans and chicken all over the floor, on the walls, and even on the roof), but that's what we're here for. To learn how to get through life, together!
I have to admit this was an altogether familiar feeling that I experienced. It's often the way I feel before I meet with God. I dread and fear the way my life is going to be ruined when I go to Him. He is going to say things that are not going to sit well with my conscience. He may even start asking me to do things that do not go well with my comfort. I might have to get out of my comfort zones in ways that I was not prepared for. So I try and put off this meeting with God. That doesn't help, though. I start going through that same torture as I wait in anticipation for something that I KNOW is a part of my life: my time with my Maker.
Then when I come to Him...Ah all chains fall off!! What a cliche, but how true! My burden feels lighter, my mountains feel easy to conquer, and my love feels complete! If you've never read Jon Acuff's blog post called Thinking God will run out of welcome home banners, then I honestly suggest you do that! It will be ten minutes that you will want to (and probably will) relive over and over again. It's exactly the same idea, that God is just so in love with us that we almost refuse to believe it.
A challenge? No, there's no challenge in this blog post. Only a point of self-reflection. How are your times with God going? My times have been struggling because of this illogical fear. Maybe it's the same for you, but we all need to accept this unrelenting pursuit of Christ is counter-intuitive to resist.