Monday, June 25, 2012


To be still does not feel like purpose.
To meditate does not feel like purpose.
To pray does not feel like purpose.
To read does not feel like purpose. 

There is a predefined definition of purpose etched in my mind that requires action, movement, physical goals accomplished.

When God tells me to be still, I don’t understand.

What is the point of stillness?
Relationship He tells me.

I am in India, on a mission trip. But there is the word “purpose” disguised: mission.  What is the mission?

I am surrounded by people who are here in Kolkata for two weeks, four weeks, some even six weeks.  They get up every morning to head to the home they are volunteering at for their morning shift, they come back for a nap and lunch, then they head out again for their afternoon shift, they come back after dinner to chat, wash clothes, and go to bed.  Everyday they have a definite purpose, a tangible purpose.   

Can I do that for five months?

Sister Mercy Maria, the Sister who hands out volunteer cards, told me I should start with morning shifts and see how I feel after a few weeks of doing just morning shifts.  After doing that for a few days, I don’t understand how the other volunteers are doing both morning and afternoon shifts.  Then I remember they are hammering out their time, getting the most bang for their buck, since their time here is measured in weeks.


What is my purpose?

If my purpose of being in India is to take care of the elderly at Prem Dan, or the kids at Shishu Bhavan, or even to talk to people about Jesus on the streets of Kolkata, I am failing miserably while being sick.  But that can’t be the end of it. There’s got to be more.

I keep looking for some deeper reason, something hidden, an understanding of God I’ve never had before. But I’m expecting it to be easy, an epiphany, a clear vision, a flipping of a switch that changes everything.

I asked a Muslim man why he believed the Qur’an was true.
He told me because it is.
I asked him what he thought about Jesus.
He told me the Qur’an is the best book…
“Bible also good book,” he said, then tried to sell me a scarf.  

There were many things I was expecting when I came to India: poverty, contrast, being scammed because of my white skin. But, for some reason, I was not expecting to talk to Muslims about Jesus.  Yet, that is what I find myself doing. And I am clueless. 

In my dorm room, someone from weeks gone by had left a book called The Unseen Face of Islam by Bill Musk.  It talks about the lives of ordinary Muslims from their worldview and gives a biblical perspective that alleviates Muslims from their heavy burden of religion and tradition they have been placed under.

Jesus is always the answer.

Some friends who left BMS (my guest house) a few days ago left me some tracts in Arabic and Hindi. Some of the tracts were written by former Muslims who point to places in the Qur’an that point to Jesus, building a bridge from Islam to Jesus.

I am envious (in a good way) of my friend Bekah’s training program that has been teaching her how to minister to Muslims.  She is currently in Bangalore, India right now putting her training into practice.  

Lord, lead Bekah and her team as they reach out to those without Your light and hope. Keep them refreshed and able to do the work You have set out for them to do.

My mind is already planning six months down the road, plans for returning to the US, plans for going to Bible school, or joining a missionary training program, or going to seminary, or… wait, what am I going to eat for dinner? Oh yeah, I have enough worries for today.

Jesus, what do you have for me right now? Not even in a few hours, later today, or tonight. What do you have for me right now?  That’s all I can ask.

What is my life but a mist?

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4: 13-15

I am doing a bible study with my Arizona ladies called “Cookies on the Lower Shelf: Putting Bible Reading Within Reach.” It’s starting in Genesis and taking us through the whole bible (intense!).  Well, one of the little sections within each chapter of the study is called Digging Deeper where it gives you a section of the bible to dig into a little deeper if you have time.  This one was on Job.

We all know Job’s suffering. It was pretty horrendous. 

But how often do you think about God’s response to him?

            “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?
            Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me…

            Have you ever given orders to the morning
            Or shown the dawn its place…

            Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
            Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
            Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

            Unleash the fury of your wrath,
            look at every proud man and bring him low,
            look at every proud man and humble him,
            crush the wicked where they stand.
            Bury them all in the dust together;
            Shroud their faces in the grave.
            Then I myself will admit to you
            That your own right hand can save you.”           Job 38:2,3,12,34,35; 40:11-14

What is my life compared to that?

The commentary of my bible says, “Give God a chance to reveal his greater purpose for you” (sweet, that’s what I’m looking for!) “but” (I hate buts) “remember that they may unfold over the course of your life and not at the moment you desire” (darn).

"Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman keeps going through my head:

            “And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
We'll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do.

Maybe you’re sitting in math class
Or maybe on a mission in the Congo
Or maybe you’re working at the office
Singing along with the radio

Maybe you’re dining at a 5-star
Or feeding orphans in the Myanmar
Anywhere and everywhere that you are

Whatever you do
It all matters
So do what you do
Don't ever forget to

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do.”

Just a whole lot of thoughts today.

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