If the World Race does anything, it teaches new meanings behind things you thought you understood. So I’ve decided to start a new series of blog posts called “redefined”, talking about these new meanings.
Last week, I was sitting over at the school where we teach classes daily. It was a weekend, so no-one else was on campus, but Abigail and I had been sitting and using the wifi. On this specific day, Abigail had been fasting from speaking. She had been silent all day long, resting in the Lord’s presence and listening to His voice. After a little while, she got up and made the two minute walk to our house, motioning to me with grand gestures and laughs that she’d be back in about 15 minutes.
About five minutes later, just enough time to get to our house before turning right back around and returning.
“Speaking fast over for today,” she says, “the girls are sitting outside on the porch, and there is an old man with tons of Buddhist beads around his neck and a pistol in his back pocket sitting there mumbling things at them in Thai, and he won’t leave.”
“Um, excuse me… WHAT?!?!?!?!” was my immediate and only reaction.
This was the day the Lord used my teammates to completely redefine grace for me.
As we ran over options in our heads as to what to do, we figured we’d both better head back over to the house. As we began walking, we noticed the man directly in our path. At least he was heading away from the house, but no way were we about to put ourselves in any sort of contact with him. So we turned around, making a detour and walking around the school campus to get back to the house.
I’d seen this man before, walking around town, but I’d never seen him communicate with anyone.
When we arrived, I saw three girls sitting on the porch completely calm.
“Are y’all okay?!”
“Is everything good???”
“Yeah, we’re good! Why?”
“You know he had a gun right?!!?????”
“Oh he wouldn’t have used it. He had very kind eyes. He was just an old man, spiritually lost. He wouldn’t have used it.”
Unanimously, they were calm, cool, collected, and completely fine.
My only thought was “I DON’T CARE WHAT KIND OF EYES HE HAS! HAVE Y’ALL GONE COMPLETELY INSANE?!!? There was a man on our porch, two feet from you, with a GUN.”
Then comes the phrase I’ll never forget. Tiffany looked at me in the face and said:
“Look, the Lord called us to ministry in Mae Ai, so ministry we are going to do. To everyone we encounter. The Father is going to protect us. And if in talking to that man, he decided to shoot me, then so be it. It’s the Lord’s timing, not mine. He looked like he was asking for shoes, and he walks around town barefoot, so I’m going to get him some shoes.”
I still thought she was completely insane. In the moment, I didn’t understand it. Ministry is wonderful, and I knew that the Lord was calling us to be uncomfortable, but this was not a train I was jumping on.
Several days later, after cooking on the situation for far to long, it hit me.
1. simple elegance or refinement of movement.
2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
1. do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.
In John 1:16, the Bible says
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
Every moment of every day, we are given the FREE and UNDESERVED FAVOR of the God that created the universe.
Grace upon grace.
Just like that the Father extends his favor to us, regardless of the false idols we publicly worship or the guns we carry.
As His sons and daughters, His children, His disciples and His chosen people, we are called to mirror Him in all things and to all people.
“Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” Jesus asks in Matthew 18:33.
Shouldn’t we give grace just as we have received it?
My teammates did just that. Even though a strange man that they had never met approached them, invaded their space, and (despite their kindness) initially scared them with the endless possibilities of outcomes of the situation, they outwardly displayed NOTHING but the grace of Jesus.
They acted not out of fear, but out of a love that casts out all fear.
Grace: Redefined- Not only receiving, but also giving the love and kindness of Christ. Unashamed, unafraid, untamed and relentless love.
Papa has gifted me with some downright incredible sisters who never cease in teaching me new things. And though they’ve assured me that “a healthy respect for guns and safety is more than appreciated”, I’m going to start reacting with a whole lot more grace.
DISCLAIMER TO ALL: We are fine 🙂 the team is safe, the house is safe and all is well.