Daily Worship

Times of refreshing

June 13, 2015 0 0

Acts‬ 3‬:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

I used to think 'times of refreshing' meant a holiday, or an inspired church service, or a coffee and chat with a friend.  In my work around the world where I have seen the effects of poverty on the most vulnerable and needy my thoughts have changed.  

I have witnessed small children working a heavy day's work to gather just enough wood for the family's cooking fire in the Himalaya mountain range. I have grieved in Ethiopia for those children whose role is to spend long days tending goats or cattle on isolated sun scrubbed land.  I have felt shock for those whose lives are spent collecting water from a distant well, their clothing in the main oversized, torn and tattered.  I have shared with the wailing of mothers as a teenage son and breadwinner is laid to rest, a victim of an industrial accident.  And I have held in my hands small malnourished babies breathing their last moments on this earth.  

Poverty is no life for the glamorous rich.  It is a high precipice skilfully navigated by those victims of its power, with cliffs of disease and sickness threatening on one side and sharp slopes of hunger, pain, fear and paralysing hopelessness pulling the traveller down the other.  No human being would freely choose to walk that route.  And yet, so many are compelled to do so.   

Join me in this prayer of my heart after I visited Ethiopia in 2010. 

"Lord, what can I do?"  

This was also the prayer of the disciples when facing those families who became 'the feeding of the 5000'.    Like me, they became the answer to their own prayer. 

"You go and feed them"

This simple prayer, with it's simple answer, made me a witness of the Resurrection power.  I have been privileged to take by the hand young women bound by the stigmas of HIV/Aids in Africa and blaze a trail for them to begin to work in their communities, providing essential services for the people around them and a sustainable income for their families.  I have laughed with village mothers who never dreamed their small children could access education and who were bringing them to a newly opened nursery school birthed in the dreams of a witness to the resurrection.  My ears echo still with the strong declaration of an exhausted mother that "God has done this" as she took delivery of a wheelchair for her disabled son. Tears and laughter, miracles of grace.  It has been my deepest joy to witness the new world order in the resurrection people as we move amongst those the Father will not leave - the poor and needy.  

Father, this week we have been asking that you would impact our world through the resurrection life you have placed in us.  We cannot imagine really what you will do as we hold out our few loaves and fishes to you.  Maybe we are even like Peter and John who had nothing at all to give the poor man.  But we trust you Lord.  As we hold out our nothing or our plenty take all of it, we hold nothing back.  We believe in the faith in the name of Jesus.  We believe in your new world order.  We believe that it is likely we could be a part of the answer to our own heartfelt prayers.  We give you permission to do that Lord.  Thank you that, fearful though it may be for us, through it you may just change the world.  We would be so very grateful. And so would those generations who follow us.  Have your way, Lord.  We submit to your will, to your kingdom come.