Thursday, August 21, 2014

When God calls ...

Over the past 18 months, my life has entered what I would consider a desert season. God hasn't been less present in my life, I've just been wandering. Much of this struggle has surfaced in my work environment. Many people have commented on the amount of travel I get to do (internationally) and enjoy my stories, pictures, and memories I share. While I certainly try to make the most out of my trips, focus on the positive, enjoy meeting new people, and experience different cultures, it also comes with a price. Emotionally and physically it is exhausting ... but there is something more.

It has surfaced for me how much of our world is hurting and in need. The picture below is just one small example of the contrast. Staying in one of the most luxurious hotels I've ever stayed in was built in the middle of one of the poorest areas I've ever seen.
A view inside and outside my hotel (ITC Grand Chola, Chennai - India)
However what I noticed just as much as the contrast in wealth, was a sad similarity inside and outside the hotel. Empty eyes and heavy hearts; wealth may have granted physical comfort, but it certainly does not grant lasting joy. I think I may have seen more smiles admits the poverty than among the wealthy during my visit.

In any case, sitting with these images and memories causes the inability to see things from just an American perspective. I return from some of these trips impacted so deeply only to find our culture arguing about meaningless things and ignoring atrocities and other serious matters that we leave up to self discovery, tolerance, and relative truth. What is going on? I echo the words from another era, and country ...

"Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Templeton Address)

Yet what is forgotten can be remembered ...

♫ I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
(Matthew West - Do Something)

I wanted to share all of those thoughts only to bring me back to where I wanted this to go in the first place; God's calling. Have you ever noticed how when God calls it's often not in an area we may choose ourself?
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. (Acts 8:26 ESV)
This is a desert place to which God was calling him. God called him to a desert to deliver a message. He didn't call him to a place of comfort and refuge, but He called him to the desert.

A desert? What about my desert? Has He brought me here for a reason? Have you been brought to a desert for a reason? Is He calling? Are we listening?

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