Sometimes I feel as though I am in a bit of a time warp here in Thailand. Time flies by and I have none of the usual markers of season to remind me what time of year I am in. Having grown up in a Catholic church and then working at a church for 5 years, I have always had a heightened awareness of the Lenten season. This year however, Easter really snuck up on me. No bunnies or Easter eggs, and certainly no crosses or pictures of empty tombs, decorate anywhere I frequent in my day to day.
So now, since it is Easter week and all, I have been more intentionally trying to get myself in the mindset of the reason for our celebration of Easter. How great to be able to center in on the single most important time in all of history. So many heart wrenching emotions and events all leading up the moment everything finally came together and started to make sense, the literal in-breaking of a new era and the moment humanity was able to witness the incredible power of God and the lengths that he will go to bring us to restoration.
But what continues to elude me the most about the incredible life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the immense amount of power that is behind it all. That this man, Our God, operates in a power that not only created all of existence, but also in a power that can defeat death. And I suppose this power is somewhat comprehendible considering he is God of the universe and all. But then when you add in the fact that the power that resurrected Jesus Christ from his grave is also the same power that is available to all of us?…. that continues to absolutely blow my mind.
It is unreal how much we go though life underestimating our God and his power at work in us.
I sometimes get uncomfortable when I tell people what I do. Mostly because people react in a way I find unfitting. There is a certain air of “I could never do something like that… that is so amazing that you can.” As if it takes some sort of super Christian to move out side of your comfort zone and serve. The problem here is that it’s not me that does anything, it is all God. If God can call me and enable me to do something such as this, God can call any of his people to do anything of the sort.
Because I don’t think that Jesus defeated death for us so that we could live ordinary lives.
Freedom is the key I think. Freedom from the lies that we have chosen to believe. Freedom from believing we are not good enough, freedom from believing what our society has ingrained in us, freedom, really, from the belief that our God isn’t big enough.
There is this practice I just learned when a team came though to minister to the kids of the mothers here at Nightlight. The children’s program was designed to get the kids to really focus on hearing God. One of the things I was told they would have them do is picture God at the end of a path. “Now…” they would begin, “ is there anything in between you and that path to God?” It’s a great visualization process really and quite worth some thought. What do we put between us and God? What keeps us from tapping into the fullness of the power that God has to offer?
The question that plagued me the most while I was in America was always, “Is my own security and comfort more important to me than the Kingdom of God?” It is the American Dream, the essence of our perceived needs. It is this desire for earthly security and comfort, for the meeting of our own private needs, that highjacks us so and cripples our effect in the world. We are taken victim, fed lies, and then adjust our perception of the world accordingly. Then our tainted worldview affects everything we do.
We settle. And when we settle we lose out on the greater things that are far better than our own personal comfort, security, and success. We lose out on living in the true power and abundance of God.
One of my favorite verses of all time is John 10:10- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Not Just life… life to the FULL… abundant life… he saved us from a life of settling.
If we spent half as much time loving others in the power of Christ as we did caring about our own lives and securities, do you know how much impact we could have in this world? Picture the abundance of that world. It’s about believing in that power that Christ offers. The power to overcome our perceived needs, the power to reach out no matter what the cost to ourselves.
The longer I am out here the more I realize how much need there is in this world. As Americans, and more than that, as children of God, we have so much power to make an incredible impact yet we continue to be highjacked by false realities that have nothing to do with the advancing of God’s Kingdom.
This past month as been full of being able to witness new beginnings.I saw 9 girls get baptized, 3 new girls get hired, and two of them accept Christ. Any of these events is nothing less than a miracle; each event a reminder of how powerful our God is and how powerful we become when surrendered to our God. None of these things could have happened if not for ordinary people reaching out in the extraordinary power of our God.
In the season of new beginnings and new hope, perhaps it is fitting for us to reflect on what newness Christ needs to bring about in each of us. What have we been putting between us and God that short-circuits his power at work in us? Because part overcoming the problems and darkness of this world is being willing to sacrifice everything and work in the fullness of his power.
18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.