I found a loss of words while in Cambodia. I meant to blog weekly, but the words, the words just did not come. I know – that is not like me. But I found it hard to express what I was seeing and doing. How do I sufficiently tell the story that was unfolding before my eyes? Words were at a loss. Tears flowed.
The slum area I visited numerous times with Rose was overwhelming, joyful, depressing, hopeful, all at the same time. These people who had nothing had everything. We in America have everything and yet have nothing. What have we lost?
More tears flowed.
In-between bouts of diarrhea, well, a full ten days of it actually, and selfishly thinking about the comforts of life in America, I was hit with a startling realization – Jesus was asking me, me, to have courage. No, it had nothing to do with creature comforts and solid bowel movements. It had to do with love. Utter and complete love. God’s love. And the courage it takes to actually express that, to live it, and to breathe it. Our partners in Cambodia live it out, and it truly is amazing.
John wrote it this way:
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first (1 John 4:7-19)
And more tears fell.
Why? Because in some ways, I don’t feel like I fully understand or completely know how to show God’s love. Oh, I love God, and I have sacrificed a lot to be in the mission field. But when my worldview collides with the reality of poverty, injustice, and despair, I sometimes wonder if what I do, if what we do, is enough. Are we really expressing the love of God in the best way possible? Are we casting out fear? Are we bringing hope to the poor and setting the captives free? That is what the love of Christ does. That is the beauty of the Gospel. We are vessels, transporting the message of God’s incredible love through our humanitarian work; through our project that help prevent human trafficking.
And I feel entirely incapable, insufficient, broken.
But then, this is not about me. It is about God. And more tears flow. Why would God use me? Why does God use humanity?
I don’t understand the evil of human trafficking. It is pure evil. Innocent lives changed forever. Children separated from parents forever. Women enduring abuse after abuse and either finally leave, just to find themselves in the same impoverished life that they have always know, or stay, and with each passing day their soul dies more.
How do I have courage amidst such evil?
And more tears flow. It is not up to me. It is up to God. The courage is the courage to love. To be unselfish. To trust the Lord in all things. To be light to the darkness. To express love, God’s love, in the moments He has entrusted us with. Pray with me for that type of courage – for me and for you. Our God is in control.