Orphans, Adoption, Africa, Step Out In Faith, It Won’t Be Comfortable, Jesus Wants to Be Your Savior, Surrender Your Life to Jesus, blah, blah, blah. I can mix up my posts and find new ways to express old thoughts. But why do I? Why do I put so much time and effort into this blog? I have in fact tried to get ready to stop blogging a few times, but I can’t do it yet.
There is a reason I can’t shut up.
This summer I’ve been going through the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. I’ve never read the entire book before. I wanted to see how God spoke through a prophet and how Jeremiah communicated tough messages from God to people. Jeremiah’s job was so hard. God appointed him to practically declare his messages of impending doom to the kingdom of Judah. The people of Judah had turned away from God to worship other idols. And Jeremiah was responsible for telling them to repent and return to God, otherwise there would be severe punishment. In fact, the word punishment is an understatement. Should the people of Judah reject Jeremiah’s warnings, God would send utter and full destruction on the land and its people. Did the people of Judah listen to God’s appointed prophet, Jeremiah, as he passionately and consistently urged them to act? No. In fact time after time Jeremiah was rejected and opposed. Even by family, neighbors, and friends. He stood alone. He was often thrown into prison, beaten, and taken against his will. Time and again Jeremiah would come to God after speaking to the people and cry out, “To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.” (Jeremiah 6:10)
At this point in my readings, I could relate to Jeremiah in one small way, and that is that I understand that people get offended by God’s word. The gospel in itself is offensive because it points out sin, shows people that they cannot save themselves, and requires a changing of ways. People don’t like that. I didn’t use to like that before I was a believer either! But, I’ve never been beaten or thrown in prison. And I’ve never felt the feeling of being completely alone in my faith like Jeremiah did. If I ever do get close to that point God always sends another believer to encourage me to press on, so I don’t feel alone for long.
A few weeks ago I got to chapter 20. At this point Jeremiah is exhausted, emotional, and burdened with despair over the unrepentant hearts of his own people. He has tried reasoning with them. He has been warning them all along. He knows what is going to happen to them because God has told him. His calling to deliver God’s messages faithfully and courageously is weighing on him. So much so, that he curses the day he was born and asks God why he was even born. Yet, through his frustrations and despair, and people ignoring his message and persecuting him, he says this profound statement:
I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot (Jeremiah 20:7-9).
SHA-BAM!!!!!!!!!!! Now that, I can fully relate to!!!!!!!!!!!!! No I am not ridiculed all day long (when it does happen it only comes in short encounters), no I don’t feel that everyone is mocking me (Jake and I have many friends and family that do support and encourage our faith and lifestyle). BUT, there have been so many times when God’s scriptures are screaming out at me that something I am encountering is just NOT RIGHT! It’s pure injustice, and I HAVE to say something! If I try to suppress it or ignore it I feel like I am going to explode! Blogging has become my medium to express this ‘fire in my bones’ that I cannot hold in.
I sit in a chair at our fitness center as a man that Jake and I know comes up to chat. He asks how things are going at Jake’s facility in Ankeny and they make small talk. The subject of our Ghana travels comes up and the man hasn’t heard about Jake’s hosting program or our adoption. Jake shares details. The man says, “That sounds like a lot of work….I say just leave ‘em there,” and he chuckles.
FIRE IN MY BONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I read sickening stories like this (http://kimberlylsmithblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-attack-in-sudan.html?spref=fb) and then I watch our evening news with the top story being about sunscreen guidelines. I learn through an almost 10 minute segment that 1 American dies every hour from melanoma because they don’t use sunscreen. But I don’t learn about the 26,500 children that died today because they have no food, water, or medical care. That I had to read about in a book. I wonder why the news doesn’t mention the sickening, inhumane, traumatic violence the LRA rebels are inflicting on tiny children in places like Sudan. Why can I only read that on a blog? I think to myself that if this sort of violence was going on in America the whole world would stop!!!!!!!! I’m not trying to be insensitive about skin cancer and awareness….my mom is actually in the field of cancer research and I understand the importance. I’m just frustrated TIME and AGAIN that we don’t hear the horrific news stories of what is going on WORLDWIDE….I am convinced that if we did it would spur more people to action!!!!!!!!!!
FIRE IN MY BONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some Kingdom Hoops players are over at our house hanging out for a few days. We have our family devotional time after dinner. One young man has been going to a religious school for the past 3 years….a school that has a symbol of Jesus hanging on the cross in its gymnasium. We talk through a section of scripture and he says, “My teacher told me that some things in the Bible aren’t true…that you can’t believe everything it says.”
FIRE IN MY BONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I get onto facebook one evening before bedtime. I scroll through statuses and see this:
Women who say ‘I don’t believe in abortions’ just kills me. So what about what God says when you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. Do you not believe in God? Some women need to figure it out if you think you’re pregnant go get checked. If he don’t want it, well, don’t have it because you’re gonna be mad you can’t have him. Then you’re gonna do everything in your power to keep him away from the baby and BAM once again another baby with no Father!
Excuse me? Did you seriously just tell women to have abortions if their man doesn’t want the baby, while also in the same breath talking about belief in God? Really?
FIRE. IN. MY. BONES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot shut up about Jesus. Or adoption. Or Africa. Or living a life of faith. Because right in front of me, in my every day situations and circumstances and encounters, people are out there believing lies, and people are out there spreading lies. And it’s just NOT RIGHT. I want to stand up against injustices. And I want to teach my kids to do so too. I cannot be silent. I cannot stand around and watch this world swirl with innocent lives being subjected to oppression and violence and corruption. I cannot watch people claim the name of the Lord and then live their lives in complete opposition to scripture all the while leading others astray without saying something!!!!!! I want to speak up for those who have no voice. I want to share truth with those who have never heard it, or who are confused about what truth is, or who are trusting and believing in something that will not save them in the end. Even if it means that some people might get offended. Even if I lose a few friends along the way. Or even if it means that for right now, we have to live our lives out loud through blog writing that takes me most of nap time to compose.
I can’t shut up. Even if I tried to hold it in, indeed I could not.