I’m sitting in La Chalet, a quiet hide away restaurant hidden in the lush green trees on the edge of beautiful Lake Kivu. I’m sipping a hot cup of coffee and listening to the birds chirp while wires fall from the edge of our table to the nearest wall charging all of our team’s nearly dead electronic devices. In this moment life seems abnormally... normal.The warm day, the cool breeze, the sound of waves quietly sloshing against the side of the stone walk way. Perhaps this picture makes you feel for a few moments that perhaps I’m not on a mission trip, just maybe, I’m on a vacation.
However, when I get still in this place of peace and rest my mind begins to process this last week’s events and immediately I’m thrust back into reality. Reality is that even in this hidden gem that provides comfort beyond the description of words, we are still in the territory of a war that has been raging for twenty years. Just a few miles away guns are still firing, bombs are still blowing up, and people, real people, with names and faces are running for their lives.
Kim the permanent missionary here is sitting across from me writing a blog titled, “Life More Valuable Than the Instagram That Shot It”. My mind can’t help but see the obvious irony there. Perhaps today many cameras and iphones will capture wonderful “shots” of the people and moments of our lives and here many guns will end the lives of those in front of them and every single one of these lives are valuable. The lives that are laughing and the ones crying, the ones shouting for joy and the ones screaming for fear, the special life changing moments and the unnecessary life ending moments. They’re all being “shot”.
Today is our day of rest. A day to relax, pray, and reflect. As we sat down, as I stated earlier, life felt... normal. It’s almost as if someone physically took a weight off of my heart that I didn’t even know existed. Maybe my heart had been longing for “normal” and I didn’t happen to get the memo. Perhaps it’s trying to find a balance where life back home and life in a war zone don’t collide, but rather find a way to mesh into a peaceful coexistence. I couldn’t help but consider the fact that this is most likely the supremacy of grace in action, when your Spirit so overtakes your flesh and mind that it’s not until you sit down that you realize you’ve been living in a supernatural protection that is beyond your own ability. A protection that not only guards your life, but also protects your mind.
We’ve preached. We’ve taught. We’ve prayed. We’ve loved. We’ve hugged. We’ve kicked soccer balls made out of plastic bags. We’ve sang songs. We’ve cried. We’ve rejoiced. We’ve held the orphan and hugged the widow. We’ve believed against all odds. We’ve worshipped as gun shots rapidly fired. We’ve spoke of the goodness of God as screaming men beat on the gates of our house. We’ve excitedly discussed plans to venture into the deep bush to visit the poor, the child soldier, the dejected, the hurting, the lost, the hungry, the abused. We’ve dreamed of hope for a nation to change. We’ve laughed as we’ve seen victory for the body of Christ in DR-Congo. We’ve spoke of an America overcome with the glory of God.
As I sit here and reflect I’m redefining normal. Normal if done correctly can only be found within the boundaries of love. If it does not consist of love, then that is what is abnormal to my Spirit. Love is His normal. Love is His language. Maybe normal looks like witnessing to a man with a grenade launcher, some days it looks like sitting in the dirt with the children, everyday it holds time of worship and lavishing love upon my Savior, maybe for you it’s giving some bread to the man on the street, mentoring a youth in your local church, maybe it’s stepping out of your comfort zone and praying for the lady in Wal-mart. As long as it is done from love... that is normal.
For too long I’ve tried to govern normal by what I could wrap my brain around, but as I sit here I realize my brain will never be able to wrap around the things my eyes are seeing, but my Spirit will always understand love.
As Kim said life is valuable. From the beggar to the millionaire, the follower to the leader, the rebel to the saint... Life is valuable and life should be handled with love.
Love that lays down bombs and guns for worship and prayer meetings, the real warfare that causes peace and not more war. Love that is consumed with giving rather than receiving where empty tummy’s become full and hurting hearts receive tenderness and compassion. Love that goes low and slow and places value on the ones who were never told their birthdays or given a name. Love that Never Fails.
I believe that God’s glory will cover the earth as the water covers the seas, not just because the Word says it, but because here in DRCongo I’ve encountered the supernatural. I’ve seen love win. I’ve seen a people living in the miraculous power of a living God. A people who have every reason to cry and mourn and yet they rejoice and dance passionately in love with their Savior.
We will see the nations change. This nation, America, and the rest of the globe because LOVE is determined to become the norm. He is determined to reveal Himself and He’s got some crazy believers who will take His love to every dark corner of the earth.
Make love normal today. Love unselfishly. Love in great compassion. Stop for the one in front of you who needs love today. As Heidi Baker always says, Love the One who is the One and then love others.
It has been a crazy week and I thank God for days of rest for my heart, mind, and body. I thank God for supernatural grace and protection. I thank God for a body of believers who have surrounded me with encouragement and prayer.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as this Tuesday-Friday we will be going to a village in the bush. We will have no contact during those days and will need you to be storming heaven on behalf of our team as we travel and minister the LOVE of Jesus Christ.
Be Blessed, J. Tate