Sorry but this post is not about the antics of Avery and Lily. I could fill volumes about their smiles, and teething, and crawling attempts, and waving. I feel that I have a message that I need to share. I’m actually hesitant to post this and do not know how it will be received. I got out of bed at midnight to write this down, because I feel it is that important and frankly the Lord isn’t going to let me sleep otherwise.
Sometimes a very simple truth is not simple at all, but fathomlessly deep. I feel like God was forcing me to open my eyes to just such a truth yesterday.
Yesterday afternoon, some of my relatives came over for a visit. One of them is a cousin whom I haven’t seen since we were small children. We’re about the same age, and she is married with three young children. They are missionaries to Amsterdam. Her precious children led us in prayer in Dutch! She later explained that they reach out to the Northern African population in their area. Immediately, my heart said, “Not them!” It was like my mind was saying to shut down that train of thought fast. Once everyone had left, I let the thought come back up and realized that I had to follow it down the rabbit hole.
When I moved to Belgium, I realized that there was a large population of Moroccans in the city where I lived. I had no prior knowledge of this people group but quickly learned that they were particularly antagonistic towards Americans. Upon arriving to Belgium, I chose a charming townhouse in the shadow of an immense Gothic cathedral. I envisioned a European lifestyle in which I could walk to restaurants, parks, stores, and the like. What became my reality was that almost every time I ventured out alone after dark, I would get harassed by groups of Moroccan men. There was hardly a time I walked home from a dinner with friends that I didn’t get insults hurled at me. Let me be clear, Americans stand out. You can dress head to toe in European clothing, but we stick out from a mile away. It’s the way we walk, the way we interact with others, our facial expressions, everything. I ended up moving out of the downtown area to a village because the harassment had escalated to the point where I no longer felt safe. One evening, I was watching “The Amazing Race” at a friend’s apartment, another single American woman. When I headed home, a group of half a dozen Moroccan men started following me and yelling threatening insults. They followed me until I made the final turn to my front door. I truly feared that the harassment would go past hateful words. I’m American, but I speak French so I understood exactly what they were saying to me.
As I let my mind explore what was bothering me about my cousin’s mission field, I felt like God was leading me towards a profound truth that I thought I knew. Jesus didn’t only die for me. Obviously, He didn’t die specifically for Americans. He didn’t only die for the refugees of the Sudan. He didn’t just die for the little girls in Chinese orphanages. Just as much as He died for those people and me, He died for that angry, anti-American, anti-woman, anti-Christian, 25 year old Muslim. As I was embracing that truth, it was like God said to me, “That’s good, but you have to go a little further.” The word “deserve” came to my mind. I cringe now just recording it. I really thought, deep down, that that Moroccan man doesn’t deserve Jesus. Then God pushed me that one last step. Do I think I deserve Him? I wanted to turn away from that thought. I felt myself saying, “God, don’t show me this ugliness that is inside me.” But like cauterizing a wound, I realized I had to see it and acknowledge what is really there. Just as there is no mission field more deserving than another, I do not deserve Christ and His sacrifice. As painful as it was for me to see the evil within me, I rejoice in my God for saving me from it.
My dad is teaching on the 3rd chapter of John in his class at Bible Way Baptist Church and thankfully we’ve had time to discuss it over the past week. Sometimes we have to let the power of a familiar verse be renewed in our hearts.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I thank God that He loves the whole world, and I praise Him for the pronoun whosoever. None is deserving, but all are accepted.