...I am responsible.
When I initially made the decision to follow Christ as a seven year-old, I meant it. I knew what it meant, and I understood that I needed Jesus. After 10 years of doing the best I could following what I was taught in the church, I was left with one questions of the Lord: "If you are who you say you are, then there's gotta be more than what I've seen in church." After 17 years in a small baptist church, I wasn't satisfied with man's viewpoint of who God was, nor should I have been.
What I didn't consider on that day was the weight of what I was asking. God was faithful, and still is, to reveal more of His character when asked of Him. And the knowledge of His character comes responsibility. A responsibility to share the hope of Christ that I have come to know. A responsibility to "walk in a manner worthy" of the life Christ lived and died for me. A responsibility to not let this knowledge die with me, but to be broken open and poured out so that others might be able to see past imperfect vessel that I am to the One which will perfect me on that final day. It's this responsibility that I can't shake, and it's this responsibility that resounds in my heart as I live each day in Romania.
When I first arrived in Romania 11 months ago, I began to pray a simple prayer in my heart. I asked of the Lord, "Give me eyes to see what you see, and give me ears to hear what your heart says." If you've been following this blog, then you may be able to recall a few stories I've told regarding the way in which my eyes have been open. The most recent entitled, "Uncomfortable is as Uncomfortable Does..." This left me shaken to the core at the capacity of the Lord's heart for us, specifically for the downcast and the lowly. I can say that I now fully enjoy the time I spend with those that once made me uncomfortable and have come to know the Lord closer through allowing His love to flow through me to them. However, I was mistaken by thinking that the feeling would somehow pass...
A few weeks ago I was driving in Timisoara. It was a beautiful sunny day on which I was happy to be out and about, driving around the city in my car. Then, I stopped at a red light on the way to the mall and saw young Roma girl begging for money. I had seen this young girl before, as she is usually in the same place every time I go to Timisoara. However, this day was different. As I looked at her, I felt the same pain in my heart as I did when I first began spending time with the orphans. I felt the need to hold back my tears...to harden my heart against what I knew was the Lord's desire to impart his heart in mine. But at that moment I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me, "Do not harden your heart," and I knew that I must allow myself to cry for this young girl. So I did. I sat at that stoplight and cried for this young girl. I looked straight forward as she passed my car with her hand held out for I didn't want her to see that I was upset. What exactly I felt for her, I do not know, but I know that my heart broke for her.
See, I am responsible. Not because I live and work in a third-world country. Not because I work with the HIV/AIDS affected communities of Romania. Not because I can afford 3 x more than the average Romanian family. I am responsible because of the life of Christ that was given up for me. I will always be responsible for this. It is part of the price of taking the name of Jesus.
I'm not a super-hero, super-"Godly," or super-spiritual. I'm broken, prideful, selfish, idolatrous, and vain (to name a few.) Sometimes, doing what the Lord wants is the farthest thing from my mind. But God is faithful in that he continues to remind me of his love for me and call me back to the responsibility that I have. And I'm thankful. I'm thankful he doesn't leave me here to figure it out on my own; and that he is patient with me even when I feel as though his patience should run out.
It's on all of these things that I've been pondering and thinking. Recently, I felt led to read the book of Revelation...not to try to understand when the Lord is coming back, but to understand what he says about that time. I do believe that we are in the final days, possibly sooner than we think. As I've read this book, what has stuck out to me is the character of the church in the last days and how out of seven churches to which Christ spoke, only ONE did not offend Christ. My question to the Lord was, "God how can I be one who does not offend you. How can I walk so that I am still on the straight and narrow path?"
And then, a friend sent me this testimony by John Mulinde from Uganda.
I highly encourage you to take the time (it is a longer video) to listen to this testimony. However, I warn you, it is disturbing, and it should be. I won't even try to sum up what he says, but as for today, this video has me undone. I pray for those of you that watch it and pray that the conviction of God will come upon you so that you might find yourself favored by God on that last day...for this is what I'm praying for myself.