On the last day of our trip to N. Africa, we visited what is called the “Cave Church.” As I sat inside this incredible structure carved into the side of the mountain, I watched at least a dozen cameras start taking pictures inside. I’ve seen this happen many times this week, and my own camera is full of pictures of what I would consider beautiful architectural structures. As I sat inside of one of many religious buildings we’ve visited, though, this time instead of noticing the beauty I was struck by how ugly these places really are.
Coming to the 10/40 Window for the first time, I think I expected to find unreached people to be a people unreached by any sort of religion. What I have seen, though, are millions of people who are deeply religious and very committed to their beliefs of choice and upbringing. This struck me in a profoundly painful way as I sat inside that church. We are seeking to reach people who are fully ingrained in a religion that is false … a religion that because of its lies is absolutely ugly.
As I thought about that, I realized that the hearts of these people, just like those buildings, will not be beautiful until they are reached and filled with the Gospel. I’ve seen some beautiful faces this week, but even those cannot be truly beautiful until the grace of God becomes evident in their lives and in their souls.
Just a few minutes after sitting in that church, we walked though a place known as “Garbage City.” It is perhaps the ugliest place I have ever seen, and yet a place like that is just as able to be made beautiful though the power of God. The trash will probably always be there, but the hearts of the people who live and work there can absolutely be changed as the Gospel spreads among them. That is a day that I pray for earnestly, and a day that will be truly beautiful.
“What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:9-11a
Written by Rebekah Burns