Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beams of Heaven

Reverse culture shock, transitioning, processing... There are plenty of words I could use for the period of time from the day I left Mundri with tears streaming down my face to this week when I will be going to Colorado for debriefing and renewal. How is it going? I think I expected it to be similar to the time I came back to the US during the referendum for independence last year. It hasn't been. It has been hard at times, but mostly I feel unanchored.

I first heard the song "Beams of Heaven" during team worship in Mundri, and these lyrics in particular stuck with me. They would run through my mind as I lived life in South Sudan. They resonated as I learned from faithful Sudanese believers who have lived through 40 years of brutal civil war, tribal violence, disease, corruption, spiritual attacks, and brokenness in every aspect of life.

Harder yet may be the fight
Right may often yield to might
Wickedness a while may reign
Satan's cause may seem to gain

This week as I listened to the lyrics of the song, I instead thought of my own heart.

I left a community of believers in Mundri that I love. This diverse community included the Diocesan staff of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the water technicians from the local government water office, teachers and students at schools around Mundri, local entrepreneurs in the market, the students of Bishop Ngalamu Theological College, the congregations my church at Okari, missionaries from other organizations serving in East Africa, and the World Harvest family. Together we prayed for God to open our eyes to the ways he is at work in South Sudan and in our own hearts. We served together to bring foretastes of the coming Kingdom to Mundri in the areas of water, counseling, education, agriculture, business, and in the church.

Leaving that community and coming back the US left me drifting in a lot of ways and unable to see how God was at work especially in my own heart. So when I heard the lyrics to "Beams of Heaven" I knew it was true of my own heart. Satan's cause was seeming to gain as old sin patterns and idols returned.

Good thing that isn't the whole song.

When in the darkness I would grope
Faith always sees a star of hope
And soon from all life's grief and danger
I shall be free someday

So pray that God would open my eyes to how he is at work in Florida, but especially in my own heart in this season.

Ask God to open your eyes to how he is at work in your own communities and in your heart.

This verse has been good news for my heart this week, and I pray it encourages you. When the fight is hard and it feels like Satan is gaining, I believe that God is completing the good work he started in my heart.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.