Sunday, April 12, 2009

over and over like a trumpet underground... the earth seems to pound, He is Risen!

I have a confession to make. Last night I was really depressed. Thinking about Easter and all the wonders of it... and being so far from my family and friends and, well, anyone who speaks my language... I really was having a hard time focusing on the resurrection of my Lord.

My wonderful husband spent quite a while praying for me and listening to me.

God is faithful. I don't think I say that nearly enough. He is.

This morning was beautiful. I woke up and fixed two cups of coffee. Amos and I sat and talked about what Easter means, while drinking rich flavorful cups of Haitian coffee. After a bit we began to sing Easter carols. Then, I remembered that when his cousin was down visiting us we had uploaded all the music off their ipod, which included the Easter choir that she was practicing for.
How I treasured those songs this morning! How thankful I am for a God who cares about little things like the need to hear worship in my own language.

Then we were told that we needed to do an ambulance run this morning. The lady we had brought in yesterday afternoon was in need of a ride home. Well, her and her newborn baby girl.

It was so fun to spend the morning driving through the backwoods of LaColline with a newborn baby and a pleased and excited family.

How fitting for an Easter morning! The celebration of new life!

The church service was long and filled with many things that I didn't understand. Unlike our usual joyful Easter carols, they seemed to sing mostly slow sorrowful sounding songs. But, then, at the end of the service, they all stood with shouts of "Allellulia!" And sang a lively song, that, I assume, spoke of Christ's resurrection.

How grateful I am for a risen Savior!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Musings on a Word...

I think I noticed it the first time I ever read the whole Bible through. It’s there, over and over again. Somehow it captured me and since then every time I see it in a passage- I underline it and cherish it.

I mentioned it one time, in passing, to a group of people and some laughed. They didn’t understand the joy I claimed at that single word.


The technical meaning is a small part of something that remains after the rest has gone. I had one person tell me, "it just brings to mind a scrap of material that isn’t useful for anything."
The word is spattered here and there throughout the Old Testament and then, in the New it emerges again.

It's there at the beginning. In Genesis. "But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."

It's mentioned in Kings and Chronicles.

Then you get to Ezra. The Israelites are nothing like the great nation that God made them in the days following the exodus from Egypt. Instead they are prisoners, slaves, servants of great kings that care little for their plight. Then, God moves.

"the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia" 1:1

He suddenly decides to rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. No earthly reason for such an undertaking. What did he know of the God of the Jews? Yet, the call goes out and the remains of the houses of Benjamin, Judah and Levi crawl out of their hidden places and travel to the city that once was boasted as the most glorious place on earth and is now in ruins. The men who had been more numerous than the stars in the sky were reduced to a mere page of names. Yet, in those numbers we find some of every part of Jerusalem. The Priests, The Levites, The Singers, The Gatekeepers, The Temple Servants, The Servants of Solomon…

Then it comes… there in ninth chapter. Ezra is praying and he uses the term.
"But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in bondage." 9:8

God, in his graciousness, leaves a remnant. A "scrap of material that isn’t useful for anything" and gives them a firm place in his sanctuary. He puts light in their eyes and gives them relief in their bondage.

That is just the beginning. You can catch glimpses of it throughout the Scriptures.
"therefore pray for the remnant that still survives."
"a remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God."
"in that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown…for the remnant of his people."
"let them glean the remnant of Israel…"
"O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel…"
"perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph."
"I will surely gather all of you, O Jacobl I will surely bring together the remant of Israel.'
"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace."

Some may hear hopelessness in the word but I hear the sweet melody of redemption. Redeemed. Remnant. The words even look similar, don’t you think?

This brings to mind a song that I fell in love with a few years ago. "Wallflower" by Laura Woodley. The chorus says,

Wallflower come dance with me,
Left over you’re just what I need.
Broken one,
You’ll be the Queen of my heart.

This, then, is the message of the word. Remnant. Left over. Useless. Broken. And then, God moved.

No earthly reason for the undertaking. Yet, He took that worthless inadequate thing and said, You’re just what I need. You’ll be the Queen of my heart. You. The Remnant of Israel. Scattered to the ends of the earth. I will gather you together and build within you a stunning bride. My priceless remnant.

Now, every time I see that word, nestled in amongst the thousands of words in the English language, I can hear him whispering in my ear…
Come and dance with me. You’re just what I need. I choose you. Beautiful One. You belong to me.

And I think if you listen closely you’ll hear it too. Maybe for you it’ll be in the sound of the wind or the warmth of the sun. Maybe you’ll find it in the laughter of a child or in the quietness of your morning devotions. But I urge you to listen. For I truly believe that inside all of us there is a remnant of God’s perfect counterpart… the thing we were created to be. And he is waiting, longing, to gather you to himself.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Night We Went For a Walk.

We decided to go for a walk, my husband and I. Our travels in the coolness of the evening took us on the narrow trail next to the citrus tree, where the still ripening fruit was examined and the longing for some kind of ripe citrus was talked about and wished upon.

On down toward the gray school building, we went, circling around the looming structure, then between the large mango trees that sat near the water fountain, next to the cashew tree that twisted it’s way upward in front of the hospital. We walked down the dirt road, surrounded on both sides for a few minutes by towering cactus plants. The cacti gave way to banana trees and we paused for a moment to looked at the bunch of ripening bananas that hung on the nearest tree.

We continued on past the coconut palms, underneath which was found piles of thick green shells that had been cut away so that people could grasp the small circle of creamy white sweetness inside, past the he-hawing donkey that was tied by a withered old rope to a stake in the ground, past the field where the boys were playing football with bare feet and patched soccer ball, past the compound with the many children who all came running, exclaiming our names in excitement. Soon after we turned around and passed by it all again.

Our arrival home was met by the sound of the generator purring loudly and we walked around our house under the massive mango tree with the still green fruits clinging to it’s branches, to fill our water tank.

That task finished we noticed the goats out of their pasture. I ran inside for a bucket and after we shooed the bleating animals into the pen, we walked hand in hand across the now greening field to the orange tree in the middle. After cutting a stick from the small section of trees and using it to shake the outstretched branches until a bucket full of a ripe oranges laid about the ground, we scurried about filling the bucket.

We stopped at the other mission house on the way back home, offering from our freshly picked pile of oranges. Mary declined, saying she still had juice left from the last buckets they brought home. She then offered us some key limes. We gleefully accepted a bowl full of the tiny green fruit and after promising to bring back some of our grapefruit in exchange, we headed home.
There I quickly squeezed the limes and we both enjoyed several glasses of the tart refreshing limeade.

After dinner we heard the sound of footsteps on the front porch and after our questioning, "Kisa ou vle?" (What do you want?) The little voice answered, hopefully, "Mwen chwe football." (I play football.)

Now there are two boys battling to see who will win the current game of foose-ball while another picks at the guitar and another plays solitaire at the table. Oh, and we cannot forget the three year old younger brother curled up on the couch, fast asleep.

Hope for Tomorrow.

The other day I was organizing my clothes and came upon a t-shirt that I haven’t worn yet since coming to Haiti. I decided to wear it and put it on. It was a shirt that Keturah had given me just before leaving home. It still smelled like her. It made me so homesick I almost started crying.
I think it’s a bit worse because I am working on writing about the year we lived in the little house on Rural Ave. I desperately miss my two roommates and the laughter and tears we shared at that point in our lives. Since that time my life has been such a roller coaster- I think in my subconscious I am always trying to return to that period, back when life made sense and God seemed so close.

Then at times I go back a little further, to the days when we all went to Rhema. Back to when I found safety and love within the walls of a church. Back to when every Sunday I would rush to get ready, longing to be there for every possible minute because maybe; just maybe- I might hear God speaking to me again.

At times I trip back even further than that. Back to the days in Florida when Brianna and I spent almost every afternoon together. Back to when we would go for long walks and talk about the phenomenon of hearing God speak to us for the first time.

Then other times I go back even a little further. Back to living at ABI. The time when I ran carefree through the open fields and made dandelion chains and dreamed of a fairy land where all sorts of adventures happened. Even there within my dream-worlds I always had a Savior. The king who would come rescue the little girl and place a dandelion crown upon her head.

Sometimes I think that for me, heaven will be like a continual beautiful memory. It’ll be a place where I can make dandelion chains and walk with Brianna and giggle with Keturah and Delite and dance at the throne of the King in the midst of a throng of people who I know and who know me and together, we’ll listen to God speak his love over us. And, of course, as we’re singing songs of worship, the King will step down and place a crown of dandelions on my head and more than that, he’ll wipe my tears and never again will there be any sorrow or pain.

I’ve been reading the last chapter of Revelation over and over again lately. I think there are days when I can hardly stand being here because things seem so hopeless. I can watch people hurt each other and listen to children crying but I can’t stop them. Yet, there is a promise of things to come. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of the God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

And that promise, I cling to as I live out each day. That the time will come when this nation will be healed. No more curse. No more sorrow. No more tears. It is hopeless when we think of only what we can do because, in truth, we can do nothing. But God, in his love and mercy, will someday touch this place and what is rapidly turning into a dry barren land will be washed anew. The children won’t cry anymore and the people will stop hammering nails of hatred and thoughtlessness into each other.

He who testifies to these things say, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.