3 times over the course of three years I uprooted myself from my “normal” life. I left my home, the place I’m most comfortable, the place where I have dominion (well most of the time). I left my country. A place where I understand most of the customs, where I understand the language, a place where I nearly always feel safe. I got on a plane and traveled a great distance to a place that I knew I would love, but I didn’t realize how much I would love the people. Going that great distance changed me. It changed how I watch the news of the world. It changed how I look at my own culture. It changed what I think about and pray about. I talked about it with the people closest to me and people that I hardly knew. My trips to the Philippines changed me.
This change in me was most noted when the news of Hurricane Yolanda came to light. A huge Hurricane, maybe the largest ever, was bearing down on a place that was on the other side of the world from me. Normally, this would just be a blip of news that I may or may not notice. If there was a connection to me through friends or my church, I might donate to a relief cause or say a prayer for them. But normally, I wouldn’t care much for the pain happening such a great distance from me. But I had been there. I had walked with the people whom the storm was bearing down on. I had worshiped with them, worked with them, ate with them, I became friends with them. And because I had been there, I cared….oh I cared. I wanted to do anything in my (limited) power to help them. I wanted to raise money yes, but more than that, I wanted to BE WITH THEM. I wanted to return.
This morning, I realized that in this, I can identify with God. He has been here. He left his home, he left the most glorious place ever imagined. He left his power and became a poor baby with no power. He walked with us, worked with us, worshiped with us. He became friends with us, he wanted the best for us in so many ways. Then he left. He could have stayed but he left knowing greater things would happen.
This morning, as I was reading and praying and worshiping…preparing to lead the body here in worship, I was reminded by Him that when we are in the path of a great storm, He wants nothing more than to help us, to protect us, to BE WITH US, to return.
I praise God this morning…because even though he is a great distance from us…HE’S BEEN HERE! And he loves me and cares for me and is with me….and will return.