Oct 9, 2011

The Danger of Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
-1 John 4:7-11

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
-Matthew 22:36-39

If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
-I Corinthians 13:2-3

God's Word is very clear, we are commanded to love; to open our hearts to others & give of ourselves just as Christ gave of Himself to us. But we all know that whenever you let someone else get close to you, then there is a risk of being hurt. I think C.S. Lewis said it well in his work "The Four Loves." Take a look:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I hate being vulnerable. I like to feel independent, self-sufficient, unbreakable. But God calls me to be Christ-dependent, find my sufficiency in Him, & to be broken at the foot of the cross. I've been contemplating this over & over again the past few weeks as I find myself missing my friends back in the States very much, yet somewhat apprehensive to develop deep friendships here because I know that when I return home in December, then I will have more friends that I am missing. Then there's always the possibility of trying to make new friends, & being rejected or hurt. All of this was going through my mind the other day when I was also thinking about Hebrews 12. And these two words stuck out to me: "Consider Him." Speaking of Christ, verse three of chapter twelve says "Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." 

How must Christ have felt? Coming to earth a helpless baby. Creator of the universe, unable even to ask for food or water. Completely dependent on the very fragile human beings he had given breath to. Christ was willing to be vulnerable & broken to restore a relationship with humanity. Yet I retreat behind my wall of insecurity or self-sufficiency all for the sake of protecting my pride. "What if they don't like me?" or, "what if they hurt me?" These are my arguments, but Christ came to earth knowing full well that he would be crushed by the very ones He had come to rescue. Chances are, I will never be physically harmed for sharing Christ, or reaching out to love on others, so what is my excuse? I don't want to love, because love=vulnerability? Unacceptable. 

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:1-2 

Oct 6, 2011

Three Weeks in SA

I have been here in Peru for exactly three weeks and a day. What have I learned so far? I've learned nothing ever goes according to plan. At least not my plan, & that my friends, is a very good thing. God's plans are so much bigger than mine, so who am I to say what should & shouldn't happen? I've learned that there are ways to show love without communicating verbally, as many Peruvians have done for me. I've learned it's not always the big things that matter, but the little every day blessings that bring a smile to someone's face. I've learned that above all, my worth, my identity, & my purpose is not in what I can do, or what I look like, or where I'm from, but it is in Christ alone. A little over a week ago, we took a trip into the mountains, to a city called Juliaca. I didn't know there could be so much variation in culture in the same country, but even the Earnharts kept commenting on how it was completely different than the culture in Tacna. The weather was very cold, about 30 degrees or so. But unlike in the states, the homes have no insulation, there aren't heaters in every car, & very few buildings have any heating system. 

 Unlike the climate, the Peruvian church families were very warm & inviting! Many people invited us into their homes & made amazing meals for us. Keep in mind, me+the Earnharts=9 people! Saturday evening we had a youth activity at the Plaza Vea, which is the Peruvian version of a mall/walmart. It was a lot of fun getting to know the college/career age people from the church, even though I still can't really speak Spanish very well, they all made me feel very welcome. Sunday the altitude sickness that had been plaguing us since our arrival finally leveled me completely that morning. We had just finished breakfast at the church, and all of the sudden I felt like I would  pass out. It was awful! I weird combination of the flu/sea sickness/cold/pure nastiness. I played piano for the special, and then while walking away I blacked out, but thankfully there was a wall there that caught me. Lol! I went into another room during the service & just took it easy, & then by late afternoon felt much better. I am very thankful that I have only gotten sick once since I've been here; God has been so good!

Monday afternoon we went to Juno, & visited Lake Titi-CaCa; the largest, high altitude lake in the world. The locals thrive on superstition, & even when Sarah was teaching the kids classes earlier that week we heard stories of man-eating mermaids that supposedly inhabit the lake. Mermaids or not, we went on a boat tour to visit an amazing cluster of man-made islands inhabited by the Uro people.

It was an incredible experience! An entire village made out of dried reeds...craziness! We had a lot of fun exploring & enjoying the sunshine. Afterwards we made the 10hr bus trip "home" to Tacna. Hallelujah for sleeping pills! We were all very thankful to be back where the sun actually warms the earth; little things we take for granted =) It was an awesome trip overall, & I am thankful for all of the opportunities God has been giving me, & all the little things He is using to open my eyes, & widen my perspective of ministry.

Thank you all for praying! I will definitely try to give a more current update soon, but alas, homework calls. Adios for now!