Saturday, November 27, 2010

Faith, Hope and Love

During my last week in Zambia I started a blog entry with this exact title. I remember because I still had a draft of it saved. However I only got this far:

1 Corinthians 13:13 states “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Faith. Hope. Love.

It is amazing to me how much these three words have been pounding through my head lately…. and how much my perspective of the meaning behind those words has changed since first coming to Zambia.

I remember really wanting to write that blog entry.

I wanted to write it to try to sum up the entire experience in a blog entry and Bible verse that would catch at people's hearts... or more honestly, that would help me process what I had learned and had come to know about myself and God on the 'trip'. However, that was an impossible goal, both then and now.

I realize that I will never be done learning about those three words. Zambia was incredible, and I will never forget the people, places, and things I was blessed to be a part of there. Not a day passes when someone or something from there is not on my mind or lips. While there I did not only learn about God, I became friends with God. He became my life's breathe, and even now when I have forgotten to take that breathe for a while and I finally open my well worn Bible... I feel like I'm coming home, and all of the stresses prior to that moment simply melt away.

However, since coming home, watching my little sister get married, starting a new relationship of my own, road tripping from Sea to shining Sea and arriving in Pasadena to start grad school at Fuller Seminary's School of Psychology, that learning has not stopped. Again, faith... hope.. love... they echo through my mind and pound tirelessly at both my consciousness and subconsciousness. I can't escape them, nor would I want to.

When I think about that last week in Zambia, I kind of laugh at thinking I was actually going to be able to write that blog entry. Because the truth is, I could write for pages about those 3 words.

About FAITH... crazy, scary, don't-look-down but keep-your-eyes-on-Christ faith. A faith that keeps 4 mama's and 36 children fasting and praying on a once condemned, cursed, and forbidden piece of land, because they know who the land really belongs to....and one that got me up to pray at 4 in the morning, because God had bigger plans in my own hometown as well. A faith that gives us hope that wherever God calls us to jump next, is going to be perfectly within His grace...

About HOPE... true, potent, plan-redeeming, peace-giving hope. A hope that I saw reflected in faces of orphan children and widows despite what most American's would consider to be 'tragic' circumstances, but also a hope that we learn to give through a family therapy program in a seminary in SoCal. A hope that doesn't work to only cover up the brokenness of this word, but brings light to those stained and broken pieces of ourselves and lets the God who created us in the first place display some new beauty through the colorful mosaic of our messiness. A hope that allows us to love, even when that calls for great vulnerability...

About LOVE... deep, consuming, passionate, merciful love. A love that causes a single man to not let an article about the needs of the AIDS orphans in Africa to go unheeded on a plane ride. A love that allows commitment, grace, empowerment and intimacy to escalate in intensity between two imperfect people, because they have their eyes focused on the One who is perfect.. and then compels those two people to share that revelation with a whole Seminary so that families across the word can experience it. A true agape love that makes you not want to waste another day of your life living heedlessly without showing friends and family how much you really care.

I wish I could write for days on end about it all, but I suppose that isn't really possible. However, as it is Thanksgiving weekend, let me just say that I am thankful. I have been so blessed to have my world turned upside down by a God who had it planned out this way all along. Four year's ago I was living in the status quo. Three year's ago I was learning to stretch myself in my faith and ministry. Two year's ago today I felt like I was never going to be worthy to breathe the name of Christ again, but instead I discovered true grace. And a year ago this weekend (a weekend when I decided to go home on a whim feeling somewhat alone, overwhelmed and uneasy about everything that I knew God was calling me to in the next year) the craziness that was then, and is currently my life got an unexpected shove in the right direction... and it's been no looking back since then.

You know that feeling when you're trying to get down a steep hill... and you can either choose to go down the hill cautiously and perhaps skid a bit to keep from falling, or you can run down it in reckless abandon and just embrace the 'too fast' nature of the hill? Ya, I know, I'm the 'crazy' one running down with arms flung wide... despite sometimes wondering if it wouldn't be more sensible to take the slow path. But what I've realized is the choice to run with arms open really hasn't been mine at all. I've been so incredibly blessed that I couldn't keep my arms close to my body if I wanted to, as in that position I would never be able to hold everything that God wanted to give me.

Call me crazy if you want to. But I've decided that crazy is good. Crazy faith, crazy hope and crazy love. That's what I've discovered. And I'm even close to being done this adventure yet.