I look out the window of the van as we drive down the rock and dirt road. Looking out I see a sight I have seen many times in my life: tin walled houses, burlap sack covered “stores”, children walking barefooted in the mud; in other words, intense poverty.
My families conversation becoming background noise as my thoughts begin to overwhelm me. Not thoughts of what I am seeing, thoughts of home, the responsibilities and worries I left behind, but suddenly God stopped me in my tracks and told me to open my eyes. What am I really looking at and why am I not overwhelmed by the reality of it? I closed my eyes and prayed a dangerous prayer: “God make this new to me, let me see it for the first time again, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
He broke my heart. And that scared me.
He broke my heart as I held little babies growing up in homes half the size of my dorm room.
He broke my heart when a mother told me that her children’s father left her and she now supports her two children by selling vegetables by the road.
He broke my heart when I heard the statistic that 1 in 3 women in Kenya are victims of a violent crime.
He broke my heart as a man watched Isabel pass out shoes to the babies in the Child Survival Program and told my father that he didn’t own a pair of shoes until he was 12 years old.
He broke my heart, but He also filled it with joy. And that scared me.
He filled me with joy as the mothers of the project sang to us “Jesus is my friend so I will bring another friend” and one by one pulled the members of my group into the church where they sang and danced for us.
He filled me with joy as one of the mothers pulled me to the center of our circle of people and had me dance with her (as rhythmically challenged as I am).
He filled my heart with joy as that same single mother of two told us that Jesus is her closest friend and since the day she met Him, He has never left her side.
These things scare me. They scare me because I know that God is trying to tell me something, I have let Him take a hold of my heart, and I have told Him that I will listen. And when you tell God that you will listen and you will follow, He will ask you to do radical things. And that scares me, me with my perfectly drawn out life plans and worries about every little detail that comes along. Because despite what I often let myself think, I know in my heart that God is much bigger than my plans.
Yes, I am scared, but the thing about being scared is that it makes your heart beat a little faster, it gives you a bit more energy, it gives you a thrill, and I am thrilled with the idea of serving God in a radical way and I pray that I will have the courage to follow when He speaks to me. I pray that you too will pray that dangerous prayer, and that you too will have the courage when the time comes to follow when He speaks.