Sunday, July 29, 2007


No matter whether I am gone for three weeks or a whole semester, coming home is always filled with love and hugs. Home is such a different place from the rest of the world; sitting down to dinner and singing praise reminded me of what a unique place home really is.

But I can't forget the images of life away from home. Every time I rode free public transportation in Phoenix my eyes were opened to the plight of a people and a culture that I normally never encounter. Particularly carved in my mind's eye is the picture of a skinny little boy, who sat with his mother's arm around him, complaining of hunger. His mother tried to love him, but presumably drugs had taken their course several too many times, and here this young child bore the repurcussions.

And it wasn't as though these reflections on the curse of sin were limited to those whose lives intersected with mine for only a moment. In the longer conversations with those whose lives looked well put together, there was pain and deep struggle and confusion. Yet, somehow, even though the evidences of sin were so clear, interacting with the world through these small experiences of the past weeks allowed me to know the heart of Jesus more. He was the one who came to heal, not the healthy, but the sick. He knew what was in the heart of a man and yet pursued man with life-giving love anyway. At the end of several days, the only prayer I could muster was, "Thank You for the cross. Thank You for redemption. Thank you that, because of grace, it doesn't have to be this way."

But coming home is special, even after only three weeks, because I come back to a place where redemption has been received and where the cross is doing its redeeming work. It is certainly not a place of perfect people. No, not at all. But it is a place where the transforming work of God is taking place within community, where the sick have said, "Lord, heal me." And it is in experiencing work of healing that I recognize more and more the calling that Dostoevsky so eloquently puts forth in The Brothers Karamazov:

One may stand perplexed before some thought, especially seeing men's sin, asking oneself, "Shall I take it by force or by humble love?" Always resolve to take it by humble love. If you so resolve once and for all, you will be able to overcome the whole world. A loving humility is a terrible power, the most powerful of all; nothing compares with it.