“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
This week has been a peaceful one in Gembu. A re-vote is tomorrow and people are already wondering how that may go. Yesterday I got to have a lovely conversation with Grace. Grace is my Nigerian friend who encourages me in so many ways! She is a counselor and works with teaching and training and helping children. She is also very active and in women leadership in her church. We were talking about getting the AWANA program started here in Gembu and how that will look in the churches as well as the Days for Girls Project and how that will shake out possibly. We discussed ways on how we need to approach the training aspect on reproductive health, etc.
I have also been taking a class from the University of Copenhagen on Global Health. We discussed some of the issues in health here and how things are slowly changing from one generation to the next in Nigeria. After Grace left and I was left in the after-glow of a wonderful discussion, I started thinking about one of my very favorite stories to teach children. This story is very powerful and I would always tell my pre-schoolers that God makes us all for a purpose and if we don’t do what God wants us to, someone else gets to do it and we are the one that loses out. Well, you may have guessed it, but the story is Esther, Esther is such an awesome book!
Think of this in a day and age where women are not valued, she finds herself Queen! Her Uncle Mordecai has been her wise mentor, adviser and guide and he says these words to her, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Her response, “If I perish, I perish”. Wow! God could have possibly used someone else to save the Jews at that time, but SHE chose to do what God was leading her to do. We have a choice in life these days and most of the time it is not a life or death choice. We can choose to “Bloom where we are planted”. To join God where He is working and sometimes do the hard stuff. When we do the hard stuff, are we complaining or pointing it out to everyone how hard it was ( That is a little wilty if you ask me!) I believe God asks us to, in whatever circumstance, listen and obey. Join Him where He is already working! Sometimes we can’t even see where that is because our own agenda gets in the way. Esther put down roots and bloomed where she was planted and God used her mightily!
The picture I used today I took on our compound. Look at this beauty! The ground it is growing in is packed solid, like rock, but look at how beautiful it is!
My point for today is this: What is your circumstance today? Are you blooming where you are planted? Are you in the seedling stage, waiting to be planted in Gods’ garden? How are you doing with that? People it is our choice!
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).
This week has been interesting. Saturday was governor elections in Nigeria. In Taraba State (the State we live in) has a woman candidate who is Fulani and another candidate running. Saturday was peaceful here in Gembu. I thought, “Wow, there isn’t going to be any issues at all!”. Well, Sunday we went to church and it was a quiet day here, so once again I thought we were going to “slide through” the elections with no issues or violence.
Then Monday morning came. We had devotions at the clinic and then started getting reports of a gang of young men (about 30) were burning Fulani homes and trying to kill Fulani people. Here in Gembu, there has been on-going issues between the Mambilla and the Fulani for generations and it doesn’t take much for one to start targeting the other, then the other tribe retalliates.
Satudays’ elections were not deemed as final, it was found that alleged impropriety occurred at some voting places, so they will be holding some additional elections in those areas in Taraba State.
Monday morning a Fulani man was standing outside the clinic waiting for his name to be called, as the gang of young men went by. They wanted to come in the clinic and take all the Fulani we had there. The Staff convinced them that was not a good idea and the young men said they were coming back. That day, standing on the “safe” side of our gate I heard the men yelling and shouting as they were passing our gate (which was locked) and did not try to get in. This experience caused some fear for me. We closed the clinic on Monday morning and Tuesday morning came and there was still some burning and police chasing people out of the streets. The police were trying to stop people from congregating, thus preventing a mob forming. We have been hearing gun shots, yelling and a lot of noise. You see, we are not “in” town, we are out of town, so not right in the middle of the issues going on.
After all of that background, what I am trying to say is that I was not feeling very joyful, I was scared. Dan was very surprised when I told him I was afraid. I typically am not a frightened sort of person. Dan gets annoyed with me because he typically doesn’t think I am careful enough in many instances. I started praying and asked many to pray as well. I still had a hard time shaking the “fear factor”. Tuesday morning I read this verse in my devotional time:
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-12, NIV). I also heard God speak to me in another way, through one of my favorite songs, “Thrive” by Casting Crowns :
Just to know You and to make You known
We lift Your name on high
Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
Its time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive
and then this to cap it all off!
Joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable
Love unstoppable, anything is possible
I have to say my Joy has returned, joy unspeakable! I am not just surviving today I am back to thriving. Friends, I don’t think we even can comprehend how much God wants us to fully engage and trust in Him. He did not knit us together in our mothers’ womb to slog through this world, “getting by”. He has us here for a purpose. He wants us to laugh, love, grow, and thrive. Here is a picture of Ruthie, giving me her, “love me” look. She gives me a lot of joy!
My point for today is this: Is there something you need to change, repent of, or lose in order to have the JOY that our loving Papa has for you in this life?
This past Sunday was Easter. It was a beautiful celebration for so many, with Easter egg hunts, bunnies, and possibly the cross as well. After Easter, what are we left with? Today I was contemplating this and re-reading an email from a friend and was struck with this truth.
Matthew 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, who hath been crucified. 6 He is not here; for he is risen, even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell his disciples, He is risen from the dead; and lo, he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him; lo, I have told you.
See, Matthew is telling us that the angel told the women that Jesus rose from the dead. This is the whole reason we celebrate Easter and why it is so important to our Christian faith. If Jesus hadn’t raised from the dead, he would not have defeated death and Satan, thus no Christians, as was God’s plan.
The part I have not truly grasped until this Easter, was this next statement in verse 7, “Go quickly and tell”. Do we sit on the knowledge that Jesus died for us, but we do not want to push our beliefs on anyone else? To tell you the truth, my belief is that we, as Christians need to look, act, BE so different that people want to know where this peace comes from. THEN we have earned the right to tell them about Jesus and what He has personally done for us and can do for them as well. We need the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment what to say and when.
In our politically correct world of today, I do see the danger that this can be construed as, “hitting people over the head with the Bible”. I am not saying this, I am saying, telling others what we have personally experienced and seen God do in our lives can not be argued with. It is truth!
My point for today is this: How will you move forward after Easter this year? Are you brave enough to go and tell what Christ has personally done for YOU?