Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Moment Shared Under The Trees

Several years ago, on one of the many mission trips I took to Uganda, I found myself out in a remote village with my team.  Our clinic had been underway for several hours and I was trying my best to mingle among the mothers and ladies who had come.

I veered off away from the crowds to walk down the hill toward the local village.

After a while I found myself under a tree with a young mom who had followed me from the crowd.  She had a couple of kids of her own and was also caring for some family member's children as well.

She didn't waste any time getting to the point of her intentions.

She did not ask for food.
She did not ask for money.
She did not ask me to take some of the many children she was caring for because she simply didn't have enough to feed all of them (this, unfortunately, is not uncommon).

She spoke not one word of greeting.

She did, however, recite this verse.  A verse which I have clung to my entire life as someone who fights against worry and anxiety on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.  But there was something about the way she said it.  Especially after realizing that she didn't have a copy of her own Bible to help her memorize these words.

One baby wrapped around her back, another clinging to her hip, tears soaking the front of her dress she spoke these words:

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: 
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?"
Matthew 6:25-26

Then she looked up at me with complete belief in these words while innocently asking how God could make such promises and not be providing food and clothing for herself and the many little humans left in her care.  She was broken but honestly seeking insight into these words she had just spoken to me.

We just sat there, holding hands and crying.

I had no answers for her and couldn't even pretend to.

We prayed together and then it was time for me to go.

I believe every single word of the Bible is TRUTH.
I believe every single promise in the Bible will come to pass.

So how can this mama (among so many other hurting and hungry in the world) be clinging to this HOPE, this PROMISE to their graves?!

I have wrestled and battled this question for years.

I have these verses hidden in my heart and pull them to the forefront of my mind when we have a bill due and the money isn't there (yet).  I recall the words and promises within these verses on highly anxious days, KNOWING that God is my provider, that HE's got this, that HE is in control...

...but part of me questions it because of that tear-filled moment under the tree with this woman in Uganda.

I decided to dig a little deeper into the words of this passage to get a better mental grasp of the context of these words from the Holman Commentary series.

You almost have to go back to vs. 19-24 to grasp the whole picture.
Jesus is teaching the people how to be fully devoted with total commitment.
And (one of) the fruit of this commitment is His promise to care for us.

Weber writes, " Our commitment to him and his commitment to us go hand in hand."

Furthermore, our Heavenly Father has our days numbered.
Worrying about a single one of these things will not "add a single hour to his life".

When we are fully committed to God, and His Story,
when we see our lives as PART OF the bigger Story of Christ,  
which is SO MUCH BIGGER than ourselves,
we can see the silver lining.

He will continue to care for us because we are so valuable and loved by Him,
but one day our story will end BUT GOD'S GLORY WILL CONTINUE, 
and He will cease to need to provide for us any longer because we will be with Him in eternity.

Sin has wreaked havoc on mankind, but God's Sovereignty overrules it all in the end and, despite the hunger and hurting and war and diseased, He still comes out victorious!  

Weber's interpretation of vs. 27 has been comforting and freeing to me as they sink in:
"If you try to take your basic provision into your own hands, 
you will find you do not have the power over life and death.  
Only God has this power, and he will sustain you as long as his plan intends."

So while I am still living and breathing, my God, help me rest in You, my provider and sustainer.

May God be glorified through it all, even when it doesn't make sense.

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