Months have passed since I’ve returned home. Time has not dulled my memories, nor has it silenced the cry of my heart. Even so, I can’t seem to find the words to describe my time in Turkey. The truest words I’ve found are these: I felt like I breathed for the first time. The following pages are a glimpse into the revelations that have flooded my heart. From the touch of a distant human, to the muddled waters of my messy, beautiful, soul, these truths echo over and over and are shaking down into my bones. I was made for this. I was made for God.
Kneeling in the dirt, eyes to eyes with a refugee; I saw more than just a needy person, I saw beauty, destiny, injustice. Her eyes looked further, and revealed destiny hidden in my own heart. This was truly an ‘I was made for this’ moment. Since I was a small child, my heart felt tethered to those who suffered at the hand of the injustices of war. There’s no way I could have known then how my life would be changed by several encounters along my way. From the aftermath of Katrina, to the mountains of Mexico, to the slums in L.A., to the refugee crisis in Syria, my heart was captured and I became inseparably bound to hope and a love for the impossible, the unthinkable-goodness I found amidst tragedy. It was unreasonable really, the way I felt in the camps, in the dirt, in the suffering. It should have been hard, it should have been painful. But it was breathing.
Two months before I found myself in Turkey, I had a similar moment. Somewhere in the mountains in Mexico I was face down on a dirty bathroom floor crying like a baby. Through a series of unexpected events I saw a miracle that changed my life. I saw a blind women open her eyes, and see. See. She was blind and now she sees. No doctor did this; rather a miracle birthed in faith changed her life forever. Ive never seen anything more beautiful. There is no mistaking what I saw in her eyes; it was Jesus. It could have only been Jesus. Sobbing on the bathroom floor I threw my heart at God. I had to see who He really was. I had to see what this really meant. I knew from church that He said if His disciples would pray for the blind that they would see… but now I knew He really meant it. So I asked Him to show me what He’s like, and what He wanted with my life. It’s taken time to get my answer, and I still only have a fraction. But I’ll never quit asking, never quit looking for Him in the blind, in the suffering, in the refugees. I was made for this.
Within days of my return it seemed the privileged world I was born to began to rise and swirl around me; anchoring me in the shallow waters I know I was born to escape. It’s amazing how perspective has the power to steer our lives, to shape our mind’s eye. Privilege and possessions paint powerful illusions of identity and purpose, defining us with shallow truths and endearing lies. How can our social status have such defining power? How can our heritage, our parents, our bank statements, our needs, and our vocations truly be the authors that dictate our purpose, limiting the extent of our reach? We say that we were made for love, for adventure, or maybe for power. Inspired, we look forward for the path that climbs to our new future, but the rush quickly fades and the only thing left of our dream is the walls keeping us from it. Walls that limit our love and that keep out the love-bearers. Walls that smother our power and strand us from the miracle-maker. Walls are the greatest illusion. Woven by destiny’s thief in cruelty and guile, her web of lies captures and tangles the innocent. Disguised as wisdom and full of empty promises, victim after victim are trapped in her threads. Fear blinds our eyes and robs our hearts as we glimpse but never walk the path laid out before us.
It’s time to unravel the lies. It’s time to be a people who see destiny, not walls. We were never made for brick walls! In fact, the only brick wall in your life is you. Don’t be deceived by who you think you should be, what you think you deserve, or by who other’s say you are. It is time to silence the web-weaver and rather hear the voice of the one who made you. Yes, I mean God. In fact, I mean Jesus. He is the only God who calls by name, who details destinies in mother’s wombs. He is the only God who creates in His likeness. He is the only God who cries out I’m your Father, who longs for you to be His own. He is the only God who says He will not keep Himself from you. He calls Himself the lover of your soul. What other God describes Himself as a bridegroom, as a lover? He clothes Himself in righteousness, and justice. The type of justice that restores to you everything that was ever stolen from you. The kind of justice that restores innocence like it was never stolen, and rightness like there was never evil.
The suffering of war and poverty need that kind of justice. Your destiny is interwoven with that kind of justice.
You all know, that I do not limit my love or my work to Christians. Neither are all the incredible volunteers I work alongside Christians. I always hear people say that there are many good and beautiful people who don’t believe in God. Even more, we’ve all heard about how Christians don’t really look like love; how they don’t look like Jesus. Sadly it is often true. Christians bear the name of Christ, but their ‘love’ is not changed; it is not empowered, it is trapped behind brick walls. If God is real, how can this be? Truth has yet to overcome in our lives. You see, truth is what empowers a Jesus-follower to actually look like Jesus, to actually know and live inside His ridiculous love. We must have a revelation of the truth of God’s character, of our value. This love, this revelation, is given freely and only freely given; by God to man. It is given to those who ache for God like the desert aches for water. Without the love of God flowing over, in and through us, we have nothing. Nothing. You can heal someone’s disease with medicine, or even a miracle, but if you don’t heal their broken heart, if you don’t bring justice for the wrongs done, what good is it to them in the depth of their heart or in the scheme of eternity? God’s love is not a feeling or a sense of security, it is a way of being, it is what we were made for. It lacks nothing, it fulfills everything. Without it we may call to Jesus, pledge our lives, give to the poor, comfort the dying, and heal the sick, and still feel nothing; still feel lost. When we pray to God and don’t see what results we think we should, when we don’t feel good enough for God to answer, we become anchored by web between wall and brick wall.
To those who know Jesus: There is a reality check coming, church: Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.’ God never made you to compromise. He made you to be His righteousness. Righteousness means acceptable, approvable, pure, the justice that gives you what is due. Church, see now, you are meant to be God’s justice, restoring what is lost. Jesus is due is reward, and He demands justice for all those whose hearts are lost. You have been given His acceptance, so that you can invite others into His true acceptance. You have been approved, so that you can love being you and do something about what burns in your heart. The time of compromise is coming to an end. The world is crying out from it’s bones ‘SHOW ME YOUR GOD, SHOW ME YOUR JESUS!’ Our world needs truth more than ever before, and you have it. You can’t earn it! You already have it. Don’t live your life spinning around in that web of privilege and reputation; disillusioned by offense and blinded by your need to be accepted. You already are accepted. Your reputation has been traded for God’s. Don’t see you that people blame or bless God for your actions? You represent His reputation now, not your own. Look at the world. It’s edges are seeping with poverty, brokenness, loneliness, and hopelessness. It desperately needs what you carry. The world cannot afford to live another day without your heavenly influence. Whatever goodness you’ve received from God, you were made to bring that to the world; now. Here’s another truth, you have no excuse not to. If you follow Jesus, you are a pre-approved justice-bringing, darkness-quenching, death-defeating, truth-bearing, lover. Jesus sent you to bring all good things from God’s kingdom to the world, and nothing should stop you. In fact, He said ‘upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it!” So if you consider yourself a Christian and you’re still seeing brick walls in your way, it’s time to let God’s definition of you unravel that web of lies.
To those who’ve never met Jesus: God’s not waiting for you to earn His approval. God’s not hoping that you’ll make yourself acceptable. He’s telling you that He wants you exactly who you are as you are in this moment. If you’ve believed anyone or anything saying that ‘He doesn’t want you until’ or ‘He doesn’t want you because,’ you were tricked. You’re beautiful to Him. His heart burns for you and He enjoys your talents, your kindness. He loves you so ridiculously not because of what you do or how well you do it but because He made you for Himself. He buried destiny in your hearts and set your life into motion. Some of you have heard this destiny and have a sense of what you were made for, don’t ignore that! Your heart was made to burn like it does. But it doesn’t end there… Your heart belongs to more than ‘what you were made for,’ your heart was made to belong to ‘who you were made for.’ Don’t be deceived, God made you to be like Him, and He freely gives you all you need to be with Him. You are His masterpiece and He delights in who you are. He longs to be the lover of your soul, but He’s waiting to be invited. Imagine the depth of knowing the one who made you, of enjoying your beautiful life through His eyes. I’ve never known another feeling like this. I’ve never seen a life truly, deeply healed by anything besides this. Imagine if everything that was ever stolen from you by evil or circumstance was restored. Imagine if every innocence you once had was legally yours again. You were made to live in innocence; you are meant to receive justice! There is more in His heart for you than you’ve ever known. I’m sorry if a Christian has mistreated you or misrepresented what Jesus stands for. You’re entitled to justice for that. Unforgiveness will never bring you justice, it will only deepen the injustice. If you haven’t found a Christian who has really been changed by Jesus, keep looking; and you will. I promise you this: any answer you seek is found in Jesus; and any answer from any other source will eventually leave your heart disappointed. If you don’t believe in Jesus, if you’ve never really met Him, I pray that you can feel His heart pounding in your chest like I do right now. I pray that you will be captured into a ‘this is what you were made for’ moment. Don’t just take my word for it; hear Him for yourself. He made you to hear Him.
The suffering are all around you. They are far and they are near. Some, like refugees are easy to spot while other’s remain hidden and just as alone. Justice is coming for the innocent, and I hope you have the privilege of bringing it. If you look into the eyes of Jesus, what do you see? Once you’ve really seen Him, you will have a ‘how could I not’ burn into your heart. I challenge you to find it, and to bring unreasonable love to the world through it. Throw down those brick walls and go be like Jesus in the way only you can be. Don’t waste your life by trying too hard not to waste it. Love is the only thing that will win. Many have told me that I’m crazy, or that I’m wasting my talents and my life on an issue that I’m too small to solve. But I saw the heart of Jesus fill the emptiness in the blind woman’s eyes, and now I know. How could I not give my life to the ones my heart burns for. How could I not trust the only God who gives sight to the blind. I don’t know how my life will look, or how I’ll make an impact big enough to matter; but I throw my heart on the floor of heaven every day with a resounding “YES, GOD!”
Show me a world-changer whose life made sense. I’ll show you ‘a reason why’ that defies all reason, restores all innocence, and satisfies all hopelessness with new life.