Beyond - be·yond
outside the understanding, limits, or reach of; past: beyond comprehension; beyond endurance; beyond help.
I can not count the times I have heard James 1:27 quoted… almost.
People ALWAYS remember the first 2 commands of that verse. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”
Except there is no period there… the verse continues.
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
To go outside the limits of caring for widows and orphans, does that mean sending a bigger check each month than you want to? Does it mean taking a trip to go and hold babies who have no one? Does in mean visiting nursing homes even though they make you uncomfortable? Does it mean you pick up and move across the world? I’m sure to everyone it means something else.
But what about that last part. “To keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” A task that is already impossible. It is so incredibly difficult to keep a positive, Christ-like attitude,.
On days when an old man sits outside my gate with his hand outstretched, hoping for 5 or 10 gourdes. He holds an empty bowl, he’s hungry. On that day I bring him inside my home. I clean his swollen feet and I fill his belly. He pulls out 3 plastic bottles that he has picked up off the side of the road and asks me to fill them with water for him to have later. On those days I am not filled with joy, I am filled with a deep, pit of my heart sadness. I wonder how many years he has been hungry.
On days when I see the woman with 7 children spread between 2 orphanages, her belly swollen with new life again, it’s hard to love her. Its hard not to judge her and so I do. And then I remember, God loves that daughter of his! He loves her enough to die for her. And my sins aren’t visible in stretch marks of illegitimate children but I am no better or worse than that precious little girl of His. God gives us challenges to help us grow, to teach us to love and to be set apart. Each challenge we can win or fail but for each failure we walk away with a new lesson.
Being called a missionary is really, very intimidating to me. I am a Christian, my work is to help and serve but missionaries are so “good”. They do things like preach the gospel and baptize new believers. They smile and lot and touch everyone. I sit inside my gate and test, over and over again for a disease, tell them how to prevent and what God teaches us about sexuality but still, there they are again, the same faces needed to be tested again. I wonder if it’s totally fruitless.
I want to be a good missionary, a good person even, but I wonder what God wants. He ate with sinners and used people that were not very “good” to do really great things. I do my best to feed the souls of those around me, to share about Jesus love for them. But sometimes, I say one thing and then I do another. And it breaks my heart to think that maybe when I turn away that hungry child who knocks on my gate every day, I am doing the exact opposite of what Jesus would do, of what I tell others to do.
I know that God put me here in Leogane, I know that for some crazy reason, He thinks I can work for His kingdom here. I know that if God says it, it will be done but I still struggle so much.
I hope that as I hold their babies, nurse their hurts and test their blood, I can also introduce them to my Jesus and His truth, a truth that has nothing to do with the clothes you wear, the tent you live in, the status of your blood test or your history. I hope that as I learn, more than ever of His grace, I can teach it too.