And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (The Bible, Hebrews 11:6)
This bible verse pretty much sums up my conclusions on some of the things I've experienced these past ten days. 

Last week I was listening to my iPod on the bus.  As I peered through the window I heard  words that caught my attention:
"Maybe there's a reason for it [the state of our world]
But it's so hard to see... 
So many broken people,
Living in this lonely city.
I give up and get up and realise 
Your blood can cover all these stains,
Oh You don't ever miss a thing."
As I hinted earlier it has been an eventful ten days. But besides the holiday feeling, happy reunions with family and just general excitement about this new Marseille adventure, I have also, through various conversations with various people, experienced a lot of those unpleasant things that made me want to just 'give up'.  I have seen sheer lack of understanding, compassion, kindness and respect towards humanity and Christianity. I have felt powerless in the face of verbal persecution and scornful remarks about the person of Jesus Christ. I have been offended, saddened, angered as I witnessed afresh the brokenness and fallibleness of our human nature. In those moments my whole being silently cried out to God "How can this be? Am I really hearing these things being said?" 

Then I remembered the Christian song and wondered whether the lyrics reflected what God was trying to show me: I am surrounded by broken people - brokenness is right there staring me in the face, yet He is still sovereign and He can do something about it. 

Perhaps God knew those difficult conversations would be happening (he doesn't miss a thing, right?). It must've been him who prompted me to pray one morning, "Lord, I am Your shining star in this place. Help me shine brightly, help me respond in the appropriate way to my new circumstances, and please give me Your words of life ." Stuff was bound to happen and in a way I am glad it did. I can't say I responded exactly in the way I should have, maybe I did, maybe what I said has already been forgotten... God alone knows.

But I am still SAD. So very sad as I replay those things I heard in my head. Have people's hearts been so deeply wounded and broken that they would forget their own fragility as humans? Why so much pride and hatred and fear? Deep down I know this is the result of sin and rebellion, but I am sad.

I may just be a religious puppet talking through my old stinky sock in many of my unbelieving friends' eyes, but I praise God for I know whom I have believed. I have not given up hope just yet! Sin may have broken people's hearts but Christ's love is unbroken. And this gives me strength and courage. 

I need to pray for healing for these people and for this city, where out of its 1,5 million inhabitants not many are seeking God - not earnestly, not remotely. 

And I want to pray for faith, because where there is no faith there is no concern for God or the things of God - the things that please him, his commands to love and serve him and our neighbour - and this is where things need to start.

What is God doing in this city? What will he do? How will he bring about change in people's hearts? The task seems so big and I am so very small. Where will God start? Maybe it starts with prayer. God of this city, show them that you exist! Give these people faith I pray!
Yue-Yi
1/5/2013 22:31:06

You're so beautiful, Sandra. Keep shining! xx

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