Friday, July 17, 2015


I've been stuck on this thought for awhile now.  I have lived in Niger just over 11 months, August 1st marking one year.  And the further in time I am from the day that I left the States, the more distant I feel from people back "home."

What you know of my life is based on what I happen to post on my blog, what you read in my newsletter, or the pictures you see on Facebook.  Granted, I do my best to share as much as I can. Pictures and blog posts can often provide a helpful glimpse into my life.  Yet, there is so much more that takes place and shapes me than what floats about in cyberspace.

This distance has created a sense of loneliness, or perhaps a feeling of being unknown.  There have been many times when I wished a friend from back home could be here to share an inside joke or to listen to my woes of the day.   And after 11 months of living in Niger, I know that there is a significant part of my life that many people I love and care about will never fully understand.  No matter how much I share and communicate (which is often limited by time and internet connections), a part of me will be misunderstood.  I am tempted to think, "If only you knew..." or "Why don't you understand...?"  When questions go unasked because a friend doesn't even know where to start, I find myself disappointed.

Perhaps you share this deep desire to be known, to be understood.

But think about this with me for a moment. (Cheesy illustration time).  How many tools and machines do we use everyday that we really have no idea how they work?  For instance, a cell phone sends messages and calls your friends, but if you were asked to replicate this device, to make your own cell phone, would you be able to do it?  Of course not!  You don't understand how it was made!  (Unless of course, you are some sort of cell phone manufacturer).  The one who made the device will naturally know it best, because he made it!  I would venture to say that our hearts work the same way.  Who better to know me, understand me like I want to be understood, than the One who made me?

I want to lean into the knowledge that Christ's love for me reaches the deepest parts of my heart where I feel the least known.  Life in Niger is drastically different from life in the States (or anywhere else, it seems!).  But God knows that.  He knows my toughest struggles and my deepest joys.  What better friend to rely on than our Heavenly Father?  My heart rejoices as I think of the rich friendship he calls us into with His Holy Spirit.  I serve a God who desires His people.  The same God who created the Universe knows me and intimately pursues me.

I must admit that I can often be quite ignorant of the Lord's pursuing.  I have become fairly skilled at the practice of hardening my heart to the Holy Spirit's drawing.  Yet my mind rests and my heart finds peace knowing that God doesn't leave me.  He is constant.  He is consistent.  He is faithful.  He is unchanging.  This is the God who satisfies my cravings to be understood.

I've come to the conclusion that I spend too much time trying to be understood.  Perhaps, I should invest more of my energy into trying to understand those around me and especially, the One who made me.

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me."  
Psalm 139:1

"God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful."
1 Corinthians 1:9  

"I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people."
Leviticus 26:12

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