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 97secondswithGod.com. Check it out.