I was reviewing my journal from 14 months ago when Carol and I were in Nairobi. I remember this man as if it were yesterday. The reflection seemed important then. It still does. Maybe it will resonate with you as well.
I met Job the other day. No I really did. A man I have known for 4 years. His life is one that can only be described as full of suffering. He vulnerably shared his story of pain, grief and deep sadness over many losses in his life. Unlike the story of Job in the Old Testament, his church is standing with him, supporting and encouraging him. He is a wonderful follower of Christ with a sweet, sweet spirit. And, relief is not in sight.
When I listen to this man speak of God’s faithfulness, his provision, his steadfast love toward him and his wife, I confess I become conflicted. What kind of eyes of faith has this man been given that I do not posses? How is the core of his being so formed in the “heldness” of God that he can be so thankful, hopeful, and open to God’s work in his life? I listen to him and I am humbled at my meager faith. Seemingly a sufficient faith but certainly not tried in the crucible of pain and suffering. At this moment, I am cast into the Mystery of God and his ways with us his beloved, and I too can only be thankful and grateful.
The theme of our time with the Mavuno leaders is Grace. Today, I became aware of God’s grace toward me and my life and became aware that the definition of grace as unmerited favor does not seem to even scratch the surface of the Mystery of God’s love toward me, his beloved. In the face of such “Job” realities, I can only accept his unmerited favor. I can only agree with the Old Testament writer, “When I think of God I am undone.” I am undone both by God’s favor toward me and by the steadfast faith of this dear friend.
Photo by Jonathan Stonehouse