Sunday, March 11, 2018

being seen

Kids with dirty feet, broken flip-flops, over-sized t-shirts they found in the trash, and noses that never stop running; they hugged us, climbed us, loved us. 

We spent several days with people who live in garbage dumps in the Philippines.

We went into a house to pray for a widow; a pretty lady who's raising several kids, doing her best to help everyone keep surviving. The brown mud ground is the floor of the house and the walls are made of scrap wood nailed together, with old kitchen linoleum on the outside walls to serve as siding. We prayed for her, said a few words of encouragement, and left. 

But one guy, the German missionary who was hosting us, lingered behind. I was interested in what he was doing, and figured I could learn if I paid attention to him, so I stood outside the door and watched. He asked the widow to show him all the places in the home that needed the most attention. She pointed out a large hole in the roof and a structure problem with the 2nd story. He examined the problems. 

Despite having been left by his team, he wasn't in a hurry to leave. He asked her questions, he scrutinized the roof's hole, he braved the stairs to see the problem upstairs. I'm guessing as she shared with him the struggles of her house, she felt valued. He took time to see what she needed. He really cared. Like he's been caring for people living in trash for 15 years. 

As I stood outside the door and watched this German man study this Filipino mom's house, I was seeing what Jesus is like. 

When everyone else steps into your house, gives you a 5-minute conversation, then departs, leaving you out of their sights and out of their minds, He stays behind to talk with you. He doesn't depart. He looks at the leaks so He can fix them. He's not afraid of the weak stairs that lead to an unattractive and unsafe floor that you've built the best you know how.

I don't live in a house made from trash nor is it easy for me to imagine how hard this lady's life is. But I'm familiar with other kinds of trash; the inside-of-you kinds.

My heart knows what it's like to have a leaky roof and an unattractive, unsafe second floor. I need someone to see and to help my heart, always. All the time. Everyday.

And that's what God does. 

 There are some leaks and some structure problems. But Jesus is committed to making our hearts safe, beautiful places where He's at home. As He looks around and remodels, I can't even smell the trash anymore. The walls I'd thrown together with old boards and materials from the garbage, He fixes up with His own two Hands. Next thing I know, I got walls built out of gold. 

There are some 15 million people living in trash around the globe. 

Those five days in the Philippines; they were busy, full, sad, fun, hard, and good. We spent days with people in the trash, watched this German man and his wife love unconditionally, took 100 white roses into a red light district and shared Jesus with those working there, had Starbucks dates with ladies who needed some encouragement, saw Jesus and got amazed by Him in new ways.  

Kids aren't designed to live in trash. Neither are moms and dads. And men and women aren't designed to sell their bodies for sex.

 But Jesus is seeing! and He's using His friends' mouths to tell these, and people in Hong Kong, and people all over the world, the great Story that will change everything. The Gospel is being preached and where the Gospel is preached, dirty feet are washed, broken shoes are fixed, runny noses are wiped, and sex work is quit. 
And broken houses are re-modeled. 

I love the Philippines. 
I love that German man with the huge God-filled heart. 
I love Hong Kong.
I love Jesus building beauty inside of me. 
I love America.
I love the Gospel. 

Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand.
-Matthew 12:91-10