This month I saw how the name of Jesus can truly transform. I do not remember a time when I did not know Jesus, as I was raised going to church every single Sunday. But, this month I saw up close and personal what the pure love and adoration of Jesus does in the lives of His people.
You see, here in the USA, we are greatly distracted. We are so blessed with material comforts, but along with that comes a loss of focus on Jesus. We are easy targets for Satan because all he has to do is make sure that we remember to check our phones every five minutes, update our status on Facebook daily or share the pictures that we just took of our children, because we know that if we wait until later, we might forget. Distracted much?
None of these distractions are bad things in and of themselves, but once they consume us to the point of defining us and cause us to forget the God who first loved us, they certainly become negative forces in our lives. I suspected that we as a society were distracted to a point, but never did I realize the impact until I visited my friends in Tanzania earlier this month.
My friends in the village of Karansi are not devoted to a cause, but instead they are solely devoted to Jesus Christ Himself. They do not have the conveniences that we have, but they do have indescribable joy. They are not distracted by the technology as we are and therefore, they place great emphasis on fellowship with each other and their relationship with Jesus. They are radically dependent on Jesus and out of this flows an abundance of radical faith in the One Who is Worthy. Because they are not rushing around every second of every day, they focus on enjoying each other and getting to know each other. Guess what happens in this beautiful process? Yes, they make time and in turn, they have time to enjoy their God and get to know Him. Might this be where their peace and joy stem from? Are they joyous because they are less distracted and thus less anxious? Are they at peace because they have time for their God and they intimately know Him? I believe so. When we know our God, we can endure our circumstances because we know His character and we learn to trust Him with everything. After all, this is His world and His plan. No amount of busyness will change His plan. Would it not be so awesome to be at peace with that truth and rest in it?
Life in Tanzania is hard, but they enjoy life because they enjoy God and they know the foundational truths about God. They serve the same God as us, but let me tell you, they BRING IT when they worship and it is contagious! You cannot love Jesus and just sit idly by in the midst of their worship. I am talking hands raised, eyes closed, communion and worship of our worthy to be praised Jesus! It is so beautiful.
When I returned, I realized that it is easier to silence God when we have plenty. Do not get me wrong, I am so grateful for my toilet seat and my dryer as I was lacking these in Tanzania, but I miss the pace of life that involves being in His will and enjoying focused fellowship with His people. Even though I was fearful about a life that I was not used to, I was at complete peace. That is what being in the will of God brings….perfect peace. When I know I am exactly where God would have me, whom or what shall I fear? This is why God wants obedience from us. Not because He is a strong fisted ruler, but because He knows that abiding in Him is the way to a life full of peace and joy.
I saw a small village in the middle of a large country transformed by the love of Jesus alone, and here is what I pray: that as I continue with my very fortunate, blessed distracted life, I take time to invest in others. Who cares if we are late to an activity? Our busyness and rushed pace of life may be a stumbling block in furthering God’s Kingdom. I am pretty sure that when we get to heaven, God will not commend me on all the appointments I was on time to, but He might be pleased with the time that I took getting to truly know His people.
Worship our great God with abandonment! I do not think worship in heaven is going to be dull, so why should we practice that here on this side of heaven! Isn’t He worthy to be praised to the fullest! Let us be thankful for our comforts and the gifts He has given, but let us also remember that everything starts and ends with God.
Spend time with Him. Get to know Him better through His Word and prayer. This is valuable time spent that will not return empty or void. If you are a believer, you are going to spend eternity with Jesus! There is nothing wasteful in getting to know Him better now here on this earth! I cannot take my toilet seat or my dryer to heaven with me, but I certainly will take my relationship and knowledge of the One Who Died for me! We are living His plan in His world and oh, how blessed we are to be able to depend and trust in our awesome Savior, Jesus Christ!