Monday, July 21, 2014

My Diamond

“And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.” Luke 19:10

It was our seventh wedding anniversary. I’ll never forget it. We made a trip from the mission hospital in the rural area of Pakistan to the capital city. After we arrived at our destination I discovered the diamond was missing from my wedding ring. I can not describe the anguish I felt at that moment. Everything shut down. Where could that diamond possibly be? Where does one begin to search for a lost diamond? I couldn’t bear to look at the empty hole in my ring. How could one celebrate an anniversary with a lost diamond? On top of that I suddenly felt very weak and ill. In a couple of days I would be diagnosed with having hepatitis. Not a good day! My husband, seeing my anguish, began looking and looking. He searched the dusty van. No luck. Then he got a flashlight and began shining it all over the floor of the van. And there sitting in the dust, the light fell upon a tiny diamond sparkling under the direct ray of shining light. You can’t imagine my joy when he brought me the good news. The diamond was reset. It is badly chipped. But I don’t care. The diamond was lost and now was found.

I can identify with the story Jesus told of a woman who lost a coin from her wedding head band. She searched and swept everywhere and finally found the lost coin and everyone celebrated her joy with her. In the same way I feel like singing when a Muslim woman anywhere in the world finds Isa al Masih to be her living Savior. When I witness truth beginning to dawn I know she is well on the way into the Kingdom of God. Sara is one such woman. She comes from a country where it isn’t possible to obtain a Bible except from the black market. There’s no church she can go to freely. She would not be able to read this blog. It would be censored by her government. She came to my country for only a short visit. She was one determined woman to find out information that has been denied her. As we got together we would have intense spiritual conversations. It was as if I could see her sweeping the dust away frantically trying to find that lost coin or diamond. When something of great value has been lost to a person there can be a frantic search for it to be found or discovered. It's thrilling to witness someone’s spiritual journey!

Recently a young Muslim woman cried to me "I'm lost! I've lost my way." There are many ‘lost diamonds’ all over the world waiting to have the Light shine upon them. They might be in London, Tehran, or Gaza. These ‘diamonds’ rightfully belong to be placed into the Royal Crown of their Savior, Jesus Christ. What joy there is in heaven and earth when the ‘lost diamonds’ are found!

Dear heavenly Father, send me out to find Your ‘lost diamonds’. Help me to care for them even more than I do about the diamond in my wedding ring. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Counting My Blessings

"My cup overflows with blessings."  Psalm 23: 5b

Sweet Shereen spends her days as a shut-in with a debilitating disease.  Her daily life is bleak. There are times I don’t know what to converse about because her life  is shut off from life and people. She must be so bored, I conclude. Seldom have I heard a complaint from her. Her Bible reading and prayer times give her meaning. Her cup overflows in spite of deprivation of good health and social outlets.

Dalila, on the other hand, complains about nearly every relationship and that she is not able to get the job of her heart’s desire and finding the right man to marry seems illusive. Her cup is perceived as empty.

I can see myself in both Shereen and Dalila. Some days my cup feels empty and some days it is clearly overflowing. However, deep down I know God has made my cup overflow with blessings.

Spiritually: when I gave my Bible away to a Rohingya Muslim it showed me how privileged I am to have a Bible in my language. When Christian friends come over I have friends to pray with in my language. Rasamal doesn’t have that privilege. When I go to church I just walk across the street. Iman doesn’t have that in her homeland. My husband joins me in my faith. Nuri’s husband does not.

Materially: my simple home gives me contentment. God also fills the rooms of my home with His presence. He has blessed me with material things like plenty of food, a washing machine, fridge, electric range, dish washer, and flushed toilet. I have running hot water, a bathtub, and a car. I remember a time without some of those things. Life was much tougher. Many people live in poverty or are displaced, deprived of these comforts.

Physically: I have been blessed with good health but have experienced enough sickness to know how sick people can feel. Some of my richest soul blessings have occurred during sick times. Having mental health is more valuable to me than physical health. It takes 20 minutes by car to get to my doctor or the Emergency Room. Many do not have any medical facility nearby, nor a dentist.  I don’t worry about surgery expenses because they are covered by our medical system. There are many people in this world who wish that was the case for them. I don’t hear guns, missiles, or bombs go off where I live. There is safety and freedom from sexual harassment on the streets.

Relationally: My husband, children and their spouses and beautiful grandchildren are precious gifts. Some have been denied those blessings. When Fatimeh was widowed she fought desperately to keep her children. The in-laws were determined to take custody of them. The courts were like sharks after her. I will never contend with something so painful as that.  My life is rich and meaningful having friends from numerous cultures. As a woman where I live I am treated with respect.

There's no end to God's blessings! It makes me want to bless others in return.
Dear heavenly Father, when I count my blessings my cup is full and running over. Thanks! In Jesus’ name, Amen.