I constantly feel like I have a foot in two worlds.There's this world in Redding full of power packed moving services where God coming is just... well, normal. I live here. I work here. I go to school here. At least six days a week I walk through the church halls, surrounded by amazing leaders, friends, community, and people who sincerely love Jesus. These walls drip with legacy and the testimonies of Jesus. Salvations, miracles, transformations, signs and wonders, they've all happened here. People come from all around the world just to taste and see it for themselves. A couple of days out of that week I do what I can to step out of this "Christian bubble" and try to go find Jesus' hidden treasures in the shelters or on the streets. Even with those visits I have days I wake up like today. Days where Jesus is beckoning...
"Jessika feel their pain with me"
I open my eyes to see a beautiful Brazilian child staring back at me. I look to my right to see the flag of a nation that has had 21 years of brutal war, DR-Congo. I look to my left on my desk to see the face of a little boy that stole my heart in the manner of a few minutes out in a rural village in Africa. As I get up and move towards the bathroom I see Israel's flag and a plethora of other pictures from third world nations. FEEL THEIR PAIN WITH ME. . .
At the same time, in the exact same room is a chair from the welsh revival, pictures of my family and friends, books on the power of God, sermon notes and Bibles galore, declarations hanging on the walls about His protection, provision, and love.
My heart comes alive at the reflection of both of these worlds, both of them I love, both of them I yearn for, But they are so drastically different.
Yesterday I sat in a coffee shop talking to my friend in a another nation through a computer screen as she told stories from the Middle East. It's been twenty-four hours and I still keep thinking about the stories.
Feel their pain with Me.
The stories are atrocious and I feel no need to describe them at all, but rather to state the obvious, feeling their pain with Him will be... painful.
We're raised in a culture that avoids pain at all costs. We do everything we can to cater to our comfort physically and emotionally, many times even spiritually. I'm not saying all of it's bad, I'm the first one to sleep with a heated blanket because I hate the cold. However, we've developed into a comfort driven people that runs at the slightest hint of pain. We won't sit with the broken because then we have to deal with the reality of the less fortunate. We won't reconcile because then we have to confront the areas that we felt pain and caused pain. We don't deal with our past because then we have feel the pain of heartache and failure. Often we write a check for the offering for missions, but we won't go out in the street with the homeless because then we would actually have to come face to face with a painful reality living right outside our door. I'm not trying to condemn, but I am trying to challenge.
Jesus is actually inviting those who will listen to feel the pain of the broken, the rejected, the persecuted, the starving, the hurting, the abused, the violated. Sadly He beckons many, but most ignore or turn away.
Will you look in the eyes of these today? Will you dare to feel their pain? Perhaps when we stare it in the face, when we feel it for ourselves, then we will no longer be complacent, we will find no satisfaction in doing nothing.
I feel their pain today. I shed tears. Admittedly it hurts. I have to wrestle with questions on faith and life. I have to admit that I was born in privilege and they were not. I must deal with the charge of the Bible to confront injustice, give to the needy, take in the homeless, feed the hungry, comfort the mourning, love my neighbor... and my enemies.
Oh it's not easy, but as the One I Love beckons my eyes and my heart I must follow.
Be Blessed, J. Tate