Sometimes in South East Asia, I give my kids a camera.
If we are going to a village or an event, or even if there is something going on just in our street. I love to see the photos that they take.
(and here I am sharing some with you)
I appreciate the perspective that they have and I smile for the things they found worth capturing. Sometimes it is an insight, for me.
Sometimes it is a security blanket, for them.
Sometimes there are just a million up-close photos of nostrils and chins and I can see that it has simply been a fun toy for the day.
As I have sat down and looked at the photos from our first term on the field, I looked at all the photos my kids took. The up-close details of dresses and table clothes. Knee high photos of friends and low shots of roadside litter. There are lots of wild cats and blurred photos of lizards.
I see a sweet view of the world
a little intense too.
You see, I like to think of my relationship with my heavenly Father, in terms of my still being an adult. Where I have rights to autonomy and wisdom and a healthy desire for his support of my decisions.
Like, Back me up Dad, I’ve got this.
Or, Just letting you know Dad – this is the direction I’m heading.
Got advice? Support?
I don’t always think my perspective is limited.
My understanding – narrow.
My photos – zoomed in.
So as I am sitting here in Australia (with a cappuccino – oh yeah!) I am considering the story of my city, of my region, in South East Asia.
I am considering the palm trees and rice fields that proclaim God’s glory.
I am aching for the people, who do not.
I am thinking of the overwhelming amount of darkness, the depressingly small handful of Christian workers, the outcast disabled, the malnourished children, the struggling widowers and the millions of lost souls.
I am thinking, contextual ministry and cultural boundaries.
I am weighing up different Church Planting strategies and debating theories of mission practise.
It seems big.
I feel like an adult, with my eyes open, with most of the information and the weight of responsibility (somewhat) on my shoulders.
I am also sitting here in Australia and thinking of my family. I’m balancing Visa options (or lack thereof) and mulling over home school issues or timetables.
I am managing the decisions about the ongoing rental of our home and the future plans for clothing and supplies.
I feel like an adult, with all the balls in my court, the whole picture in view and the direction for the days ahead, mine to plan for.
As a missionary there is so much to plan. There are so many contingencies and facts to consider for our family logistics. That we know we have no control over.
Visas are often, simply denied. Funds don’t come in. Relationship made suddenly long-distance.
There are so many strategies and tools to implement in reaching the people for Christ. That we know mean nothing if hearts are hard and eyes are un-seeing.
The soil seems so often just rocky or thorny or full of weeds.
The opportunities limited and the fruit – it seems years away.
It seems to stretch out in front of me.
Big and Wide.
But I think I also tend to think of myself as sitting up front with him.
Like I am an adult with equal right to call for drive-through snacks or to give advice on direction and destination. I keep an eye on the speedometer and make mention if it feels we are going too slow… or too fast.
I’m up front. I am an adult in this relationship.
When really I should acknowledge that He is at the wheel and I am all the way back, in the backseat. With only the side window to see the world as it is already upon me.
Mine is a limited perspective
not silly or wrong or naïve
Like the zoomed in photos of my kids.
I am a child…
… of God
The good thing is, from the back seat, the view forward is taken up by the driver.
It is God who sees the way forward. Who knows the names of His sheep.
He knows who will be singing in the choir on that day.
He has the whole picture.
“Oh Heavenly Father, are we there yet?
Is this the season where fruit will be found among the lost of South East Asia?
I ask you Lord, make it so.
Father, are we there yet?
Will there now, be Bee (the unreached people group we live among) voices raised in praise of your name?
Are we there yet? Oh Lord, bring on that day.
Father, I don’t understand the direction you take me in, not all the time.
I find this journey to be confusing and backwards and sometimes completely in the dark. I can’t understand Visas and logistics and political tensions.
I don’t like the backseat, Lord.
Help me to accept it.
Help me to love it.
Lord, help me to see the world from my window and just love it,
to shout your praise in this immediacy.
To love the sick on my street, the widower at my door and the lost at my table.
Help me leave the forward momentum to you.
Lord, take my zoomed-in perspective.
Of my husband, my children, my neighbours and my friends.
The villagers and language teachers and school kids down the block.
My teammates and prayer warriors.
Make my photos like zoomed in snap shots of You in my heart.
You in the world.
You, Father – the author of salvation.
You, Jesus – who purchased my soul,
You, Spirit – at constant work in me