When I was in Ethiopia I got the opportunity to speak at Endris' church. Endris' church has welcomed Pastor Dye, Pat Kileen and others to speak, and this time it was my turn. I don't know how clear the message was for those seated, but it was one of those moments that was crystal clear to me.
For you to understand, you need to know this: I like shoes. I know that isn't a manly thing to say, but it's true. I like shoes. Usually when you like something like shoes you like new shoes. That's just the way that I've been. Now that you know that I can go on explaining my church experience.
It's always funny to me how we expect God to move how we would want Him to. For me, if God is asking me to be on my feet I assume that means He will give me new shoes. In Ethiopia, like the US, they ask for what they want. Another illness to be cured, extra food or money, new clothing. These are good requests, but they have taken our lead in missing the miracles. The requests there are much more humble and innocent than mine, but still something became more clear for me on this visit. We spend way too much time telling God what to do. Often we miss what He wants to do in us and for us.
When I got to talk at the church I talked about the time the Israelites were in the desert. People within the room were in deserts of their own. We talked about the pain, the longing to be somewhere else. We talked about how you just want out, and humbly I looked at faces who understand this more than I can pretend to understand.
We spent time on these words in Deutoronomy 29:4-5
"But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet."
Their shoes never wore out, clothes never tore. What an amazing God! I don't want to be staring for new shoes while He is restoring the very ones my feet are standing in. I want what God has for me.
When you look for it, there is nothing more powerful than a person filled with true joy in a difficult situation, THEN seeing the situation redeemed. There is nothing like a person with no means of surviving still thriving when mankind has no way to explain it. That's my God. He is always flooding His people with promise before the fulfillment happens. The truth is shoes that never wear is way more miraculous than an unending supply of new ones. For Ethiopia, I can't wait to see how He will walk His people through this desert.
I'm praying today that He gives us eyes to see His goodness and His Kingdom. Maybe we'll even begin seeing all that He is already restoring.
Thanks for joining our friends in Ethiopia in trusting that God will redeem and restore us all.