Monday, January 28, 2008

To enter in

What a weekend I've had...Origins (our church) has these things called "learning weekends" where a person comes in and hangs out with the Origins community all weekend.
For the last three weeks Stephen and I have been meeting with a group of about 15 people reading
Christianity and the Social Crisis and discussing justice in preparation for the learning weekend. So on Friday Rob Morris, founder of Love 146 came and spent the weekend with Origins and we talked about and studied Biblical justice, and it was so good.

Let me back track a little bit and update on what's been going on in my life and heart the past few months. As some of you may remember a few days before we moved to Colorado I went to IHOP with my parents and had some prophetic things said to me. One of which was "the journey's long end". At the time I didn't know quiet what this meant, (honestly I still don't) but since we've been here God has been healing and restoring me, and it's been so sweet.

"Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
"In that day," declares the LORD,
"you will call me 'my husband';
you will no longer call me 'my master.'
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.
Hosea 2.14-16. 19-20

I know I'm taking this verse out of context a little but it describes so well what has been going on. For the last two and a half years I've been on a journey of searching and learning and lately God has been opening my eyes to what he's been teaching me. I was telling Stephen this the other day and trying to describe how I've been learning all this stuff, but I didn't know it. I have been searching and God has been revealing bits and pieces of truth about himself to me, and in the last few months I've been able to see the big picture of what he's been showing me.

This weekend wasn't what I expected, in that we didn't focus on the atrocities of the world, but on God's love; and how without continual intimacy with God justice isn't what God intended it to be. One of the things that the Father has been showing me was that when I went to India I had a inaccurate view of God's love, and since really the only two commandments are to love God and love people, not understanding God's love really messed me up. When I though of love I equated it with affection and sentiment, and I didn't understand justice, and God without justice isn't truth, and God who isn't true is a liar, and that's a big deal. So, when I came back I got rid of all things in the church and in spirituality that I had believed to be true and started over, searching for what really was true.

I feel like I'm not making sense, but I don't know how else to explain it. For example, Stephen really wants to have daughters one day, and I can see how he already loves them and thinks about our lives with them. So if we were to finally have little girls and Stephen was constantly telling them he loves them and providing for them; then one day they came home beaten and bleeding and Stephen cleaned them up and held them, but when they told him who had hurt them he didn't do anything, then by his action, or inaction, we see that he doesn't really love them the way he's claimed to. This was how I saw God's love when I was confronted the atrocities I experienced in India. And so I had to start over and learn what his love really was, because I did believe that He was good, because I'd seen his goodness in my life, but I couldn't reconcile my view of God with what I saw. So I questioned everything. I didn't know what things I'd been taught were true and what things were feel good answers to hard questions.

Last year at the women's retreat with the Grove I has wrestling with God and questioning his presence in the lives of girls I'd grown to love that were still in the sex trade. And as I cried out to him saying, "what about Asha, what about Lota, and Kovita,and Shamilee", God interrupted my complaints and said, "Kristen, I know their names, they are mine. I know my daughters, eta amar meye".

I look back and I can see that He'd been trying to show me that for a long time, but I was so full of questions, cynicism, doubt, and anger that I couldn't hear the still, small voice saying, they are mine, I know my daughters, and I love them with true love. The love that when they call out to me nothing can stop my from being with and rescuing them. The Lord continued to show me that this love that I have for these women isn't because I'm compassionate, but because they've been calling out to him and he will not be silent. And I had fallen in love with them because He's answering their cry, through me, through Kristen Keen and Sarah Lance at Sari Bari, through IJM and Love 146, through the Hiltons at Freeset Bags, and all of these people are working in the things that they do, not because they love the women and children they work with, but because God loves the women and children they are working with. I know this seems like a simple concept, but when my world had been ripped apart, I needed to know that this was true and since I'd never been taught about God's justice, I needed him to prove it's truth. So, this weekend when our focus was on the father love of God and that this is what justice stems from it was so sweet to be able to know that this is true.

I'll end with one last story. Brad, the pastor of Origins, was telling us a story of when he was in Cambodia and was in a sex district, posing as a John. He had been talking with a child who was being prostituted there, and as he walked away he watched a man walk up and hire the child; as they walked away the scene of the two of them began to play in Brad's mind. Even as he tried to stop it he saw the man walk with the child through the dark hallways of a brothel and go into a room. He saw the door close, and he saw the man begin to molest and rape the child. Brad began to cry out to God and say why are you showing me this? And God answered, "I always see. I can't look away when the door closes, I am there each time. I've only shown you what I see each day and night".
As I listened to Brad recount this experience, all I could think was how beautiful, how beautiful; that God's love is true. And when those he loves suffer he cannot turn away, and he doesn't give cheap, easy answers for what goes on in dark rooms as innocence is stripped. He is truth and he cannot look away. He cannot close the door. And although he already suffered unimaginable pain on the cross, he cannot let his children suffer alone, each time he suffers with them.
In the west we insulate ourselves so that we do not experience injustice; but when we chose to climb aboard the sinking ship of humanity, and know that in doing so we will join in suffering, that we will share in pain that we wouldn't otherwise experience, we begin to share the burden of suffering. We chose to enter in and this is when suffering and injustice begins to be redeemed. Not through political powers, but through the body of Christ entering in with him and sharing the burden of the fall.

Enter In, by Angela Heirendt, pg. 9


Liz said...

I read this three times, so much mystery to think about and fail to comprehend. Thank you so much, really face ripping off.

April said...

this is dad always says that God cannot be love if he is not also just, else his love would be corrupt. you put words and experience to that concept that make is more understandable to me. thank you. love to you.

Kara said...

you don't even know me, but i work for wmf in nepal. this was an amazing reflection. it brought tears to my eyes. thanks for letting us be a part of your journey.

Kara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

this was a great essay; i'm readig my way through _rich christians in an age of hunger_ right now and your post spoke to *exactly* what was on my mind.

Stu said...

Thanks Kristen. I agree with everyone. That was a perfect example of God revealing more of Himself to us.

Keith "THE BRICK EATER" said...

this was so moving. it made me cry. it's completely true.