Thursday, May 25, 2017

To Be In The Seen

Scrolling aimlessly through  my Facebook feed, I stopped on a post someone had made to the Missionary Kids group. They were asking for prayer for a newborn who was struggling with some health issues. I didn't know them, or the baby, but I paused to let them know I was praying and then I prayed.

God, if seeing babies suffer hurts my heart, how much more must it hurt Yours? 

I know logically that, because we live in a sin-filled world, we have to wrestle with the reality of pain and grief and death daily. Thankfully, the little one whose pictures were shared on Facebook got the medical help they needed but not all stories have a happy ending. Sometimes, even if we pray, the chapter closes with finality.

I'm a very emotional person. I cry when I see an advertisement on YouTube for life insurance if it's one of those South Asian shorts that tug at your heart. Which is why I found myself getting quite emotional when I read about Andrew Chan, a man who was transformed on death row from a convicted drug smuggler into a passionate follower of Christ. Sheila Walsh tells the story in her book The Longing In Me. Andrew was executed but as he and the rest of the Bali Nine faced their death, thousands of people around the world were praying for them. Sin's consequences were no longer a threat to Andrew's eternal future.

Sheila continues on to quote the familiar verses from Revelation 21:1-4. I've read these verses countless times, sang them in a choir song, and used them in condolences to try to share a bit of comfort with friends. Yet this time, the words seeped into my consciousness, startling me into experiencing them rather than simply reading them.

God's home is now among His people! 

That phrase. God is coming home. For thousands of years, there has been this barrier between God and His people. His creation. His beloved creation. I used to struggle a lot questioning why there was a barrier between me and God. I still get frustrated that I can't see His smile, hear His voice, or touch His face. I'm a sensory person and it's the hardest thing for me to try to connect with an invisible God. Yet I'd never paused to think about how strong the tension must be for God Himself.

He is omnipotent yet when it comes to this He must limit His power in order to be fair and just. He cannot break through the clouds and rescue me when life gets seemingly impossibly tough, though He has the power and sovereignty to do so. He longs even more than I do to connect face-to-face and yet He must hover in the unseen, touching my face with a soft breeze, handing me a flower through a student's gift, or whispering to my heart in an explosive sunset.

As deeply as I feel the exile from my Father, He feels it too. If not, then once sin had ended, He would stay up in heaven and I would remain down on earth. Yet this is not so. God's home is with the ones He created to love and be loved. To the TCK who's wandered the world over searching for a home, knowing that God's home is found with me is humbling.

It's almost time. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! ~Rev. 22:20

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