Friday, February 1, 2008

Hands without weapons find strength without fail.

Hands without weapons find strength without fail.

Yesterday I introduced you to Naphtaly, the headmaster of the Gethsemane Garden Centre, an orphanage and school in Kenya. The orphanage is on high alert right now because radicals have threatened to burn it down if they don’t close it.

In the midst of that, Naphtaly sent an email explaining how he was feeling about the whole situation. There are probably a dozen ideas in the email I want to explore, but the only one I’m going to touch on right now is 10 words long.

The reason I am going to unpack those particular words is that I think there’s a great danger when you read an extreme story like the one I posted. The problem is that sometimes stories like that seem far away. They feel further away than just the other side of the planet, they feel like they’re happening in a whole other solar system. And when we read them, we think to ourselves, “That’s horrible, I can’t imagine going through that.”

Only, here’s the thing, you can.

Maybe there aren’t men with guns outside your door in the shadows of an African moon.

Maybe you’re not on an island with a food supply that will run out around February 10.

Maybe you don’t have to explain to eight year olds how God can still love them even though they’re growing up with HIV in their veins.

But in more ways than you can imagine or maybe admit, you’re a lot like that orphanage in Kenya. And 10 words in Naphtaly’s email are the 10 words we all must deal with.

Here is what he said:

“We have no weapons but wholly rely on the Lord”

He wrote these because they were true of his situation. He did not have any weapons. His hands held no bullets, but they were not empty, for he relied wholly on the Lord.

But that can’t be like you, can it?

I’m not so sure. Maybe we’re just not looking at that sentence the right way. Instead of looking at the words, we need to look at the idea, because it’s one that applies to all of us. Maybe instead of weapons the sentence could read like:

“My wife has left me but I wholly rely on the Lord”
“I lost my job but I wholly rely on the Lord”
“My mom doesn’t believe in God but I wholly rely on the Lord”
“I’ve lost half my life to alcohol but I wholly rely on the Lord”
“I’m not doing what I was made to do but I wholly rely on the Lord”

I could write a thousand examples there and hopefully you’ll share your own with me in a comment, but the simple truth is that each of us will face the darkness of the night. Armed rebels in Africa or apartment rent that’s late in Atlanta, each of us will stare out into the unknown and long for a weapon that just isn’t there.

My prayer is that instead of seeing your hand as empty, you’ll see your heart as full and in the darkest of times will do what a Kenyan headmaster did, rely wholly on the Lord.

p.s. There's a new post on Check it out.


Dionna said...

Thanks for stopping by. I would be honored if you wanted to link to my blog. That's so nice of you to ask. :)

robyn collins said...

this providentially comes on a day when i found out my dad's protein levels in his blood are raised to almost abnormal... my husband's job of 10 years ended yesterday... my 3 yr. old spilled a whole bottle of chocolate milk in my keyboard and fried my laptop... and i dropped my phone in a soft drink, it no longer works... and yet, we rely wholly on God. it's easier, i think, when there is nothing else there...

Anonymous said...

Thank you

marsha said...

Comes at a time when I struggle daily against sin sin that threatens to take me down and never let me see the light. But I will wholly rely on the Lord. Tried alot of other things but thanks for the answer

Pastor Nick said...

True words. Relying on God is one of the most, if not the most important thing to do in our lives. Without total reliance on Him, we are lost.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I would love for you to add my blog to your blogroll.

Anonymous said...

Though I fall in sin daily, if not hourly, though I feel like the gangrene of depression has consumed my soul, and though I would sometimes rather escape though a bullet or a noose... by the righteousness of Christ credited to me by grace through faith, I will stand again, turn my eyes to the cross, and rely wholly on the Lord.