I’ve been learning a lot. That’s to be expected I suppose. 🙂
I’ve been learning French, and now a few words in Senoufo (a native language spoken in and around Korhogo).
I’ve been learning the Ivorian culture, a culture completely opposite from my own.
I’ve been learning how to live a full life without many of the American “necessities.”
But my favorite thing that I have learned so far has actually been a more trying lesson than any of these.
And that’s because it starts with me recognizing who God is, and then admitting to who I am and fully recognizing the seemingly insurmountable difference.
As I have been reading through the Bible, I have been able to see so clearly how holy, how mighty, how awesome, and how perfect our God is. He is creator of all things, above all things, and is worthy of all praise and all glory. He is the Lord of lords, and the King of kings. The One who was, and is, and is to come. He is I AM.
And who are we? Who am I?
Again, as I have spent time in the Word of God, especially Paul’s epistles and the last few books of the New Testament, I have come to see that I am human. I am utterly and completely human. Which entails: sinful, weak, destructible, not in control, and a whole host of other things that aren’t so great. Essentially, I am everything God is not. I am so far from God.
At least, I should be. But, I’m not. And I am not because of God’s love.
God’s love. That has been my most favorite thing to learn about during my time so far in Côte d’Ivoire.
As I have come to recognize the position I am in, in respect to the Lord, and just how impossibly wide that gap is, I have come to see the grandeur of His love.
Because of His love, He sent His only and precious son to live in complete humility and die in humiliation for me, for you, so that the gap is crossed. We are now with God. We are His firstfruits, along with Christ. We are His family, His sons and daughters. We are His friends.
Because of His love, He chooses to accept, and even go so far as to desire communion with us. Spending time in His Word and continually coming to Him in prayer is precious to both you and I, and to God.
Because of His love, He has chosen to be all we need. I confess, until now I have always been weary of this idea. We do after all have physical needs, and I’m not sure that God becomes food for us if we find ourselves without. But through different situations here I have learned that although God may not be my food per se, He is my strength to continue on when I find myself unable to do so. He is my strength, my peace, my hope, my joy. He is our strength, our peace, our hope, our joy. God is all we need.
And because of His love, God does more than just (if you can even say that) meet our needs. If we only look, He loves us in so many small ways as well. That person that made you smile today, the thing that allowed you to feel just a little more comfortable in an unknown situation, the quiet contentment you received when something reminded you of a fond memory, that joy that came when you were feeling anything but joyful- these are all little gifts of love God has given you and I. It is so easy to write these tiny joys off or even fail to notice them, but when we do see them, and we recognize them as the gifts they are from the Lord, we begin to realize how close the love of God is and how far it stretches out into eternity. It covers us each moment of the day, and yet, we’ll never reach the end of it.
I’ll be the first to admit, it can be difficult to have eyes to see God’s love, especially in the small, seemingly unnoticeable things, and a heart that recognizes them as the gifts of love that they are. It’s much easier to expect these things, to believe we deserve them. I know that from experience. But that was why, as hard as it was for me, it was so important that I started this journey of discovering God’s love by recognizing who He is and who I am. It has only been in recognizing how undeserving I am of God’s love, that I have begun to see just how great His love is for us.
So I challenge you to do that. Search for who God is- read His Word, ask Him in prayer. Search for who you are. And then allow God to open your eyes and your heart to His great love. And know that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate you from that love! (Romans 8: 38-39)
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”