Why Wearing Black and Donning a Pin Will Accomplish Nothing (and a Side Note About Last Night’s Hypocrisy)

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Last night I tuned in to the Golden Globes.  In speech after speech, actors and singers  reiterated the mantra of this year’s theme:  “Time’s Up” on the sexual exploitation of women. They wore black. They wore pins. They declared war on depravity.

Oh,  how I wish it were so easy.

These celebrities are absolutely right to say that what has taken place, and — don’t be fooled — continues to take place involving the abuse of women must end. Surely we all agree on this. However, they are left scratching their heads as to how this monumental eradication of evil is to be achieved. So they do what we all tend to do, especially as a new year begins. They create external moralistic (and simplistic) acts they can do which they believe will change everything. In this case, they wear a certain color and a lapel pin. They pat themselves and one another on the back for being so very far above such wickedness, while shunning and shaming those who have been found to be in violation of their standard (Weinstein, Spacey, etc).  Easy.  Too easy.  Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Here’s what we know from Scripture. Like all sin, the atrocious treatment of women is the fruit of hearts which are far from God. Proverbs 4:23 tells us that everything we do flows from our hearts. That is very bad news in light of what the prophet Jeremiah reveals to us: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (17:9, ESV)

This is precisely why Hollywood celebrities are able to bestow praise and applause to a movie which features an adult man grooming and seducing a boy into having a physical relationship as they simultaneously shame Kevin Spacey for having, as an adult man, groomed and seduced boys into having physical relationships. The irony should not escape them, but it does, for their hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately sick….and so are all of ours. The Hollywood dilemma is not unique. It is simply more public.

Problem number one, celebrities, is that when addressing sin, we must start by admitting that it dwells inside of us, not outside of us. And there simply isn’t enough black fabric in the world with which to wrap ourselves to make it go away. We have but one solution, only One who can free us of our sin, and that is Jesus Christ, who came and bore our sins on the Cross in order to do so (John 3:16-17). He conquered sin and the grave, that through faith in Him, we would not have to be enslaved any longer to sin (Romans 6:6).

Problem number two, celebrities, is directly related to the first. As you establish your ever-changing moral code there in Hollywood and sit in retroactive, self-righteous judgment against those who have failed to live up to it, you must remember that your anger will have no effect. Zero. James 1:20 assures us that “man’s anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Only a heart transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ can turn away from sin. There is no other way. The change you desire does not happen in one fell swoop, but rather in one heart at a time, as people are introduced to Jesus and by faith receive the Gospel. At least for now. When Jesus returns to earth, we know that there will be a fell swoop. We see in 2 Thessalonians 1 that when Jesus comes to judge the earth, He will pour out His wrath upon the wicked, putting an end to sin. Unlike ourselves, He is qualified to do so. This is the moment of the global Time’s Up. And all of us, even Oprah herself, should tremble. We won’t be compared to Spacey or Weinstein. We will be compared to the holy and sinless Savior of the world. Only those who are in Him will be safe (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Finally, celebrities, who like me tend to overlook the hypocrisy that lives inside you, I would appeal to you to turn to Jesus. In Mark 1:2 Jesus says, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” Time can be up for you this very day through this act alone. Repent and believe. This is the way of salvation.

 

 

 

 

That Day I Realized I Had Created a “Safe Space” of My Own

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If you’re like me, you’ve been reading a lot about secular universities and their newly designated “safe spaces.” These are magical places, where no one can hurt your feelings nor disregard the things you may profess, no matter which absurdities they may entail. If you’re even more like me, perhaps you’ve shared posts about them on your social media sites, scoffing with incredulity at this new breed of mankind, of which one need not interact nor deal with those who disagree with his or her points of view. Preposterous. Ridiculous. Downright infantile.

That was my point of view on the matter until recently when I was confronted with an uncomfortable nudge I believe came from the Holy Spirit, which enlightened me to a startling fact.  I have lived in quite a “safe space” of my own, one which has enveloped me practically from birth. Because of an incredible racial injustice that took place in 1918, I grew up in a verified “sundown town,” where blacks had been driven out overnight and never returned. (There is a faint trickling in now, but ever so slight.) In our town there was basically one religion — evangelical Christianity. There were several denominations, but I didn’t meet my first Catholic until Girl Scout camp in third grade, and wouldn’t meet another until much later, perhaps the one I married. I do not remember my first encounter with a Jewish person, but it was probably during college. I met one Muslim in high school. At the Christian boarding school I attended, there were exactly three African Americans who attended during some point of my four years. I went on to attend a Southern Baptist college, later earning a master’s degree at the largest Christian university in the world, and now I am pursuing a doctorate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. As of yesterday, my facebook list is all white or hispanic, and for the most part Christian or Catholic. In other words, my world is a very safe space. I’ll be honest with you…the thought of stepping out of that space is not one that provokes excitement or eagerness. Yet, the need is urgent. I must step out.

You see, I have fallen into a way of thinking that delights the enemy of our souls. I have come to see those outside my space as though they are the enemy. I’ve depersonalized them with the very convenient pronoun, “they” — those of whom I simply am not a part. I have been the Pharisee who boasted of himself in prayer, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector,” (Luke 18:11), though I used terms like “liberals,” “abortionists,” “feminists,” etc. Worse than that, I have assumed that I see every issue clearly — that I, an inadvertent “snowflake” who grew up in a completely homogeneous town, could understand what it is like to grow up black. Or muslim. Or destitute. Or Hispanic. Or tempted toward sins that are different from my own. Or liberal. Or…..

When it comes to seeing those who are different from me with God’s eyes, I have a long, long, long, long way to go, and there simply isn’t enough space for the number of “longs” I need to put there.

I am not called to conform others to my image. I am not even called to conform others to Christ’s image. I am called to spread the very good news of the Gospel, one that is based on our universal depravity, not the color of our skin or the circumstances of our birth, and our universal desperation for the Savior, Jesus Christ, who alone can bring salvation and the peace we crave both inwardly and outwardly.

And regarding the Gospel, what good comes of shouting to the blind man, “Why do you not see these things?!!!!” On the answer being “none,” we can agree. So now I ask, “If I start by ridiculing the blind man and scoffing at his every stumble, how much attention will he give when I tell him of the things he cannot see?” Can we still agree on the answer being “none”?

This is it, right here. This is the moment I am falling to my knees and begging God for forgiveness. I have focused on the fruit of men whose hearts are in desperate need of the Gospel I’ve left in the shadows. I have arrogantly failed to connect with those who have experienced trials I will never know. I have failed to connect with those I’ve deemed unsafe. I have tuned people out of my feed if their ideas caused me emotional discomfort. What an arrogant “snowflake” I have been.  O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner!

And please…help me step out of this space.

 

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:14, ESV

 

Time’s Up, Pencils Down

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Every time another of my children launches, I get that same feeling you get on a standardized test when the clock runs out and the exam monitor calls out, “Time’s up, pencils down.” Each time it hits like a ton of bricks. Over? Already?

Sending the youngest child off to college is one of the most excruciating experiences I’ve had as a mother. I longed to sweep him back up in my arms and carry him home.  How did this come so soon?  I remember as clearly as I remember my name his first day of kindergarten when he ran out to catch the bus. The sun had not yet risen, and a small vertical embankment stood between our lawn and the road to the bus stop. He stopped at that point and exclaimed, “I must what I must!” before jumping off and running to join the other waiting children.

That was just yesterday. Now he’s in college over 4,000 miles away, and my season of influence has come, for the most part, to a sudden end.

On the very same day I said goodbye to Calvin and his brother Colson in Alaska, my father’s time ran out as well, when he went to be with the Lord.  My dad’s death should have come as no surprise, as he had been ill for a very long time. Oddly, even though I’d known Calvin was going away to college and that my dad was going to die, both events stunned me. Some part of me had held onto the belief that things would remain just as they were.

I am not unique. We live in an age where people spend their lives in flat denial that all of our days are numbered–that the God of the universe will at some point say to each of us, “Time’s up.” Every person will at a time already appointed stand before the God who is judge. How often these days do we hear the phrase, “Only God can judge,” typically argued by persons who do not believe he actually will judge? Be not deceived. God is holy and He is judge.

We should shudder at this terrifying fact: Every wrong thought, every selfish deed, every angry word spoken, every lustful glance given, indeed every single sin we’ve ever committed in all time will be laid out before God and judged. Not one of us can stand before a holy God and be found even close to worthy of anything but hell.

Except…

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isa. 53:4-6, ESV)

The good news is that for those of us who have put our trust and faith in Christ, the price for our sin has been paid. In the greatest but most inequitable exchange of all time, Jesus Christ has granted us pure and complete holiness in trade for our wretched sinful condition for which he died. He has paid our ransom, that we might receive eternal life, escaping judgment!

“But God proves his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, Berean Study Bible)

Here is the power and the good news of the Gospel. When we confess our sins and repent of them, calling upon the name of Jesus and putting our faith in Him, we no longer need to fear that “Time’s up” instant nor the eternal wages for our sin.  He delivers us from the curse of sin and death. We are free to live lives of obedience, now and forevermore.

My dad had done this. Albeit late in life, my dad turned from his sin and trusted Christ as his Savior. I will see my dad again on that day when my time is up.

If  you’re reading this and you haven’t given your life to Christ, your time is not yet up. It could be decades from now or this very night. Not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow.  Do you want to continue to live for  yourself and receive the penalty of your sin, or are you willing to lay it all down and follow Christ?  The choice is yours. Make it soon.

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

 

 

 

All Those Kids and Counting

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It’s been a rough few days for me.  For whatever reason, I’ve continued to become increasingly aware and focused upon the daily vulnerability we face as a large family.  There are just so many points of exposure, and I have no way of knowing what any day may bring.  While this has always been the case, it’s only been in recent months that I have allowed fear and worry to draw me so deeply into their snares.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched an episode of 19 Kids and Counting.  There on national television, the Duggar parents were told during an ultrasound that their unborn child was no longer living.  I know that mama’s heart broke at such news, but her immediate words were these…”The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I don’t know that I could say these words in the face of such tragedy.

Tonight, however, I opened my Bible reading app, and these words popped up on screen:  “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flowers of grass.  The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”  And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24-25, ESV)

How the Gospel soothes the heart of an anxious mom.  Once again I am reminded that we are all here for a season–for a brief appointed moment in time.  Our hope doesn’t lie in hanging onto the condition of today, but rather in the assurance that Christ has died that we shall live eternally.  

And he will not abandon us.

There will be struggles.  There will be loss.  There will be amazing times and heart wrenching times and laughter and pain.  However, we have his promise that he will bring us through them all, ultimately escorting us into a glory beyond our wildest dreams.  

I Believe, BUT….

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I have to say it….there are some real downfalls to working as a bereavement counselor.  My work as such began in late 2009, when I accepted a position in victim services with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  Besides conducting individual counseling, I ran a support group comprised of moms who’d lost their children to drunk drivers.  This was an incredibly difficult task as a mom of six children.  The cases I encountered were converted into fear.  Every time my cell phone rings, my mind goes straight to those scenarios.  This is true in spite of God’s incredible sustaining mercy which has been manifested over the past 25 years of motherhood.

After leaving MADD, I spent a year at the local Children’s Bereavement Center serving children who’d suffered sibling loss.  There I encountered cases where children had been lost due to illness or accident.  I also acquired an entirely new database of scenarios involving painful, traumatic loss.  It is in light of such knowledge that I feel utterly helpless as a mother and grandmother. ” I must prevent these things from happening, but how?”

I’ll be honest…these past three weeks I’ve spent helping with my granddaughter, I’ve been very busy childproofing.  Every piece of furniture over two feet tall is bolted to the walls (yes, in the studs).  The cupboards are locked with the latest, greatest equipment.  Chemicals are out of reach.  Outlets are properly covered.  These are the things I can do, and they are good things.  I must, however, come to terms with this difficult and profound truth:  I am not and can never be God.  My children and my grandchild are in better, more capable, even more loving hands than my own.  The tragedies with which I’ve worked should not compel me into fear, but rather a deeper trust in the One who loves them more than I. 

I’d love for this paragraph to be the one in which I share with you how I have overcome my fear of tragic loss.  To the contrary, this is where I shall convey my need.  In Mark 9, Jesus is approached by a man whose begs for his son’s deliverance from an evil spirit.  When Jesus responds to him that “all things are possible to him who believes,” the father desperately cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (ESV).  When it comes to my trusting God with my offspring, I must confess that I have everything in common with this man.

How I love to end posts with insight–an example of victory or proclamation of faith.  But this very day I experienced panic when a child didn’t respond to a text for several hours and didn’t answer the phone.  (Sent another child to check on her!)   I have every reason to think that tomorrow will bring fear and anxiety of its own.  So consider this more of a prayer request, my way of crying out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  May I not trust in myself, but in the One who has accompanied me through every dark time in my life and theirs. 

Jesus, surround my children and grandchild with your angels.  Guide them with your hand in the way that they should go.  And while you’re doing that, help me to trust in you.  Amen.

Jesus is for Real

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I was checking out at CVS today when the cover of the current issue of Time Magazine caught my eye–“Rethinking Heaven.” I’d love to tell you I purchased the magazine, but seriously, I don’t have money to waste on finding out what the modern world thinks about Heaven. I trust the mainstream media’s ideas about Heaven about as much as I trust Hollywood’s ideas about Noah. Zero.

I am, however, refreshed by the idea that we are talking about Heaven. The popular movie Heaven is for Real has generated a lot of enthusiasm, as has God’s not Dead…and hold on, Christians, more films are coming! I’ve read For Real, and I’ve seen Not Dead. The former neither offended me nor added to my faith, and the latter inspired me. Neither, however, are foundations upon which I base my understanding of Heaven or Christ.

Also generating talk of Heaven and Jesus are global current events taking place in Israel, in culture, and in astronomy. I’m fascinated by the unfolding of prophecies foretold centuries ago, yet these do not make or break my faith. They serve to remind me that everything Christ promised would happen will actually come to pass exactly as he promised, including his return to us.

Is it important to remember that Christ is coming back? The answer to that lies in Exodus 32:1, when the Israelites decided Moses wasn’t really coming down from Mount Sinai: “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” (ESV)

I propose to you that this passage serves as a foreshadowing of what the world would do after Christ’s ascension into Heaven. Even though he has come down to us as God incarnate, performed miracles, raised the dead, delivered us from the bondage of sin, and was crucified and raised that we may live eternally, he hasn’t returned quickly enough for us to keep these things in our hearts. In essence we have declared, “Let us make our own gods. As for this fellow Jesus who delivered us from sin, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

But Moses came back. The Israelites had turned to every god they could fashion out of material items they owned and had turned to every form of pleasure. They had pushed Moses and his God far from their minds and their choices. Because they turned away to other gods, they suffered severe consequences, just as we will if in growing weary in waiting for Christ, we turn away from him to other gods (materialism, false religion, self-worship, or other forms of idolatry).

I have to tell you, I am excited about Jesus’s return. Jesus, you see, is for real. History backs him up. The stars and the sun and the moon and all of creation reveal his glory. Most importantly, his Word, the Bible, tells me everything I need to know about him–that he is the Way and the Truth and the Life and no man can come unto the Father except through Him. (John 14:6), and that if I put my faith in him I will live eternally (Acts 16:31). I know that he is coming back to the earth (John 14:3), and I know that he calls me to live a life worthy of his calling (Eph. 4:1).

Hebrews 10 sums it all up for me: 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

And so it is that I base my faith upon what Scripture tells me, not what a little boy or some journalist or a nun or Oprah might say, but on Scripture. On their points, I may agree or disagree, but Scripture will determine that.

My Unwelcome Visitor

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It’s here again.  I don’t know why–did I somehow invite it, or is it simply stubbornly and independently raring its ugly head against me?  I hate when it visits. 

Fear.

If one were to ask me what I fear, oh, there’s a host of answers I could give.  I fear losing my family.  I fear something happening to one of my children or my granddaughter.  I fear car accidents.  I fear the enemy of my soul and the attacks he plots against me. 

When the lights fade and the noise of the world subsides for another night’s rest, that’s when I’m typically most gratified.  I LOVE silence.  I enjoy solitude. 

And then there are those times….those excruciating times when my unwelcome visitor comes. 

What is fear?  A quick dictionary check calls it a “distressing emotion aroused by a sense of impending danger, evil, pain…whether real or imagined.” 

To me as a believer, however, it is goes much deeper.  It is that which presents itself to challenge my trust in God’s faithfulness in my life.  Fear, especially of the unknown, is the enemy of faith.  And the antidote of fear is faith.  Easily said, but how does one apply truth to the problem of fear?

First, I understand that I am in great company.  Peter the apostle, who spent years in the presence of Christ, experienced fear.  He walked on water, yet began sinking when he allowed fear to envelop him.  As soon as he set his eyes upon Christ, his fear was dispelled, and he again stood solidly upon that which was liquid.  Fear also caused him to deny Christ three times.  David, the shepherd who became king, expressed fear repeatedly in the Psalms, yet implored himself to put his hope in God.  Because of his fear, Abraham repeatedly lied about Sarah being his wife, believing that her beauty would motivate rulers to have him killed so they could have her.  In all cases, however, God’s faithfulness conquered fear. 

At the Cross of Christ our fears should be extinguished.  Did he not conquer death?  Did he not overcome sin?  There’s a well-known verse in Jeremiah that says.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (29:11, NIV)  This promise was given to the Israelites who were in exile….dispersed among enemy lands.  It was a horrible time for them.  And it’s a horrible time for us, folks.  If we watch the news, like Peter, we can easily begin to sink.  There are just SO MANY heart wrenchingly sad and evil and frightening things happening in this world.  But Jesus comforts us in John 16 when he tells us, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  Can I get an AMEN?

So this is what I do when this unwanted visitor of mine shows up to disturb my peace.  Like Peter, I set my eyes back upon Christ.  I turn to the promises God has given me in his word.  I remind myself of the faithfulness which He has constantly exhibited in my life.  I pray until I trust.

And like Peter, I rise. 

 

The above image was hijacked from radicalrunning.blogspot.com via Bing images. 

Expect the Unexpected

I’ve grown accustomed to hearing the above phrase used in reference to God and his actions in our lives, but this was different….I was reading the phrase yesterday on the marquee of a closed down stripper club.  It piqued my curiosity.  It also took me back in time.

Back when we lived in the the outer rim of civilization of Mesa, Arizona, our two oldest children spent a year attending a beautiful, mission style Anglican church school.

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Trinity Christian School remains the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen.  The highlight of each morning took place as I drove the kids to study amidst the cacti, tumbleweed, boulders, and sand.  There was, however, one blemish.

One mile from the school, there was an intersection that contained a single business–a triple x-rated video store.  I hated this interruption to the beauty that surrounded us.  We’d developed a habit of praying before they left the vehicle to go to class, so I began asking God if he would mind shutting down that business.  For three or four months, it became part of our morning prayer ritual–asking the Creator of the universe to remove an adult video store from our morning desert drives.

Something happens when you pray with children.  At the same time you’re thinking, “Yeah, I know, this is never going to happen” children are absolutely full of faith that GOD CAN DO IT!  They haven’t lived to take on the doubt and cynicism that grips most adult hearts.

Imagine our delight when we again made our drive to school, and saw on the marquee of the adult video store, “LOST OUR LEASE!  EVERYTHING HALF PRICE!”  The Creator of the Universe, the Redeemer of our Souls, had heard our prayers and answered in a “Too easy!” fashion!

The building was bulldozed, and up came an Exxon/McDonalds.  In the middle of the desert….with NO other businesses around!  Okay, I’m not going to pretend it was nearly as pretty as our little church school, but it KILLED the ugliness of the adult video store.  Furthermore, it provided a place where we could get fuel and ice cream, all in one stop!

I hope the “Expect the Unexpected” message at the closed down stripper bar will yield way to something amazing God’s going to do.  I pray that women will no longer be legally degraded, objectified, demeaned and bought & sold in that building.   My prayer is that whatever the “unexpected,” may entail in this situation, it will at the very least involve ice cream or, at best, a church!

Just sing….

We’ve all had nightmares like this, haven’t we? We find ourselves in front of a crowd, unprepared….incompetent….set up in such a way as to look like idiots.

It was our first post-adoption trip to Ukraine. We accompanied the founder and president of Hope Now, an organization that works to aid the infrastructure in Ukraine in the areas of hospitals, orphanages, prisons, and education. I’ve just spelled HOPE, did you catch that?

There I was in a church service inside a men’s prison, the first of its kind in the whole of the former Soviet Union. I WAS AN OBSERVER!!!! You can imagine my horror when Vic, the president, looked at me and said, “I want you to speak.”

“WHAT??!!!???”

“I want you to speak.”

“Well, I can’t you see, because I am a WOMAN, and these are men. At my church I’m not allowed to……”

“Speak.” He answered.

I got up and walked to the front. Everyone was silent as they waited, having watched us go through our debate in a language they didn’t understand. I fumbled through my Bible to a Psalm that had meant very much to me, and began to read. The interpreter repeated in Ukrainian everything I spoke. I had never done this in any church, let alone a prison church. I then explained how I felt this passage could apply to their lives. Relieved to be finished, I turned to go back to my seat.

“Sing.” Vic was giving me one word commands again.

“WHAT?” You’ve got to be kidding me.

“Sing.” I can’t sing.

“But I can’t sing.”

“That doesn’t matter, just sing.”

Regretting my return to Ukraine by this point, I turned back toward a room full of thieves, murderers, and all that landed themselves in this prison church. I chose a hymn I’d known as long as I could remember. Amazing Grace. Other than my voice, you could have heard a pin drop. No one moved. These men, with no bars between themselves and me, sat listening and gazing. They didn’t know the words, and there was no interpretation. They just listened.

I heaved a sigh of relief and turned once again toward my seat.

“Tell them Katie’s adoption story.”
“WHY?????”
“Just tell them.”
“It’s a long story,” I said.
“These men have plenty of time.”
I considered hopping the next flight home, but I turned back toward the prison audience and told them about Katie and how she’d come to be ours. The interpreter served them once again with the Ukrainian version, as I, trembling, dreaded what I would be asked to do next.When I turned, Vic was at last satisfied. I know I was as red as a boiled lobster when I sat down. How could he ambush me this way?
After the service, we returned to the van. Vic knew I was going to need some answers. In his thick British accent he explained to me, “These men have not heard the sound of a woman’s voice in a very, very long time. All they hear are harsh voices…men’s voices. Whether it’s prisoners or guards, it’s all they ever get to hear. Your voice was therapeutic for them. It didn’t matter what you said, it was the way you sounded. They needed to hear your voice.”It is that way here, isn’t it? We live in a culture where individuals demand THEIR needs be met, THEIR rights be fulfilled, and that THEY be served. Turn on a tv or radio, or go to a local restaurant, and you’ll hear it. Close your eyes. Is there a soft voice calling you to awareness of someone greater, someone full of mercy and grace, a God who became both man and servant for you? The media will tell you every bad or unfair thing that is going on in the world….or you can walk outside your door and see it for yourself. But where’s the voice calling out that this isn’t all there is?  WE ARE CALLED TO BE THAT VOICE! We are called to be merciful. We are called to share hope. We are called to love. We are called to look people in the eyes and smile, sending a message that they matter. We are called to be Jesus in the places where there is no Jesus.

It is my new goal to be that soft voice in a world of harsh voices. It may be tough at times. I may be tempted to demand my needs be met and my rights upheld. I may tremble. I may want to run back to my seat, but I am called to be that voice. God help me be it.