Looking for Him

At the beginning of the summer, we visited community number one here in Africa.  This past week, we had the awesome opportunity of going back for one last visit.  Between those two times, God drastically flipped my world upside down. DSC_0792

So here we go!  During our first stay in this community, I had no clue what to expect, or why I was even here this summer.  Why was I chosen for this? A young college student, who definitely didn’t have his priorities straight—why would God choose someone like that to serve Him and further His Kingdom for an entire summer in Africa?  But at about this point, after a few long days and long nights, God began to reveal Himself to me in crazy ways.  Sick of dealing with these lies in my head, I sought out a staff member who gave me Ephesians 1:1-13.  God revealed to me that I am chosen, holy, blameless, and loved.  These small pieces of truth played out well in my head, but I absolutely did not believe them in my heart as I walked with God.

I prayed and prayed that God would help me believe these truths in my heart. So as I constantly reminded myself of these truths, and studied more of God’s word about my true identity in Him, head knowledge gradually transferred to heart knowledge.  And that’s when God spoke to me in a way He never has before.  We were having a night of worship, and we began to sing a song that I had been thinking about earlier that day.  Immediately God flooded my mind with an image of Him reaching out His righteous right hand towards me and then I saw myself in pure white clothes, and I took His hand, and we walked into a green pasture.  So needless to say, God absolutely ROCKED my world in that moment.  My prayers had been answered and God showed me that He heard me.  He heard my cries out to Him and He showed me that I am chosen, holy, blameless, and loved by Him.  No matter what sinful nature I possess, no matter what I might think of myself and no matter where I’ve been placing my identity, The Lord has chosen me for such a time as this.  He sees me as chosen, holy, and blameless, and He loves me more than I can ever understand.  And that’s when I realized what God was going to do with my summer.  I kept receiving more and more truth about myself, and my identity in Christ.  He taught me how to walk, but more importantly He taught me how to walk in perfect truth throughout the rest of my time in the communities.

After wrestling so intensely in our first community, I was very interested to see what God was going to do with my time visiting that community again this past week.  But once again (as always) God rocked my world.  The word ‘abide’ constantly came up in my day to day quiet time with The Lord.  It became clear that God was trying to get my attention.  So I began to study it.  What does abiding look like in my life? Or on a more real note, what does that even mean?  I went to God in prayer, and He has gradually revealed what that looks like for me.  As I have been abiding in Him daily, I’ve been able to see God’s faithfulness so clearly.  I went from believing lies that didn’t belong in my life at all, to believing and walking in truth that The Creator of the universe has thought about me all along.  Have I perfected the act of fully believing that truth every day?  Definitely not.  But through abiding in Him, I have been able to conquer so much, and discover how God really sees me as His SON.

You know, it’s funny.  All summer I’ve been teaching kids through various arts and crafts how they are unique and special, and how God has chosen them to be His son or daughter.  But do I even believe that about myself?  At this point in the summer, I won’t be able to teach the virtue of uniqueness again in anymore classrooms.  I won’t be able to look absolutely ridiculous in front of a classroom anymore, with God’s children smiling at Kate, Hannah, Jay and me as we tell them they’re unique and special.  But as I look back at God’s incredible faithfulness, I keep seeing how God has used those moments in the classroom to shape me, and to reveal to me how He sees me, too.  Walking through the classroom in one of our teaching sessions, a child wrote on his paper that he is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’  God planned for me to see what that little boy was writing on his paper.  Sometimes, God works in the little details.  And if we just look for them, and if we just look for Him in everything we do, He will rock our worlds in the craziest ways.

-Jared