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Courtney & Sydney in India – July 2013

14 Jul

IMG_3311We sat in that little living room for hours, it had to have been. This was the first home we had visited where the conversation was fluent, minor a few snags in pronunciation of course. He is the dad to two boys attending the school where we teach, and his own duties of research and school inspection and teaching English qualify him to communicate well. His dreams of studying in America came to life in our midst, and upon the discovery Syd’s dad is indeed a teacher his grin could not stretch itself far enough. It won’t surprise me when he calls Sydney’s dad, asking for the job.

They fed us salty cake and when we’d had our fill, more cake appeared. We drank Sprite and later on some Chai. We laughed a lot. And yet there was a grieving stirred inside too. This day off for us from teaching at the school was a celebration of just one of the millions of God’s worshiped by our Hindi friends; and this family had been completely sold into the deception with no glance back.

As he gawked at us, mouth open wide, when we explained that our parents are not married, our moms are re-married, our siblings are also a more complicated web to explain than English meeting Hindi can make sense of.

Does your dad love you, sister? He kept asking, as he couldn’t reconcile the love of a man defined by leaving our moms and not supporting us completely until marriage. And in the moment, we assured him of our parents love for us, despite brokenness. But I won’t forget his words. We told him that we hope to offer a different legacy to our future kids. We explained that because of Christ in our lives, there is much love we hope to offer. He nodded and smiled, yes sister, I think you will. 

We don’t agree on much spiritually and my prayers for this family have remained from a year ago when I met them. I love them, you know. Their youngest we nick-name ‘roly poly’ as it is a far too perfect description of his build with his small round glasses,  and endless prayers for God to relieve him of his asthma. He is precious and I often catch myself laughing simply at his sight.

He carried out the cake to us and hid a piece behind his back to eat too. We could not stop laughing. It was hilarious. I love how the joy of the Lord is not bound by income, nation, or language.

I left in awe of God’s grace in my life. Thankful for it. This man, he seemed so broken to hear testimony of our American lives. Perhaps his version of the American dream fleshed out through us sitting in his living room was crushed too.

You pay how much for your rent? Your phone bill costs what?! You do not live with your parents? How could your dad not love you enough to stay with your mom and support your family? All legitimate questions to which I know the only way out is Christ.

Even as he hopes with all his might in the opportunities afforded to him through studying in the US, I watch him wrestle with the disappointing truth we share. I think it is often in the brokenness welcomed when idols are crushed that we look out of the pit and see only Christ. I pray even such a simple conversation would strike some hope lost in that of the U.S. and the world of academia in his heart.

I took out my phone to show photos of my life and within minutes his boys had it in their grip, uttering gibberish and laughing. Life is funny this way. In those moments when I took those photos, I never thought these eyes would see them. If only we will live life this way too—always accountable and never unguarded for the day of the Lord is coming!

And that’s just it—the day of the Lord IS coming. And unfortunately this family won’t be there apart from Christ’s holy sprit drawing them to Himself. And when you hear about the 33 million gods and the 1.4 billion people worshipping them, well it’s sad but you continue living life of course.

Until you get here and the numbers become faces that you love on every day and the gods become the cart parading down the street in front of you and the sacrifices offered behind the curtains of the markets in which you eat and it’s just so very real.

Suddenly the Old Testament law becomes applicable and God’s grace is displayed through it more in my heart then I ever imagined.

This man loves his family more. He desperately desires to see his boys succeed and find happiness. The compassion he shares for his wife’s illnesses and beauty are humbling. And yet, apart from Christ where is eternity? Even for the boys that spend hours listening to me teach everyday?

It’s a wrestling happening here more and more regularly. A debt I wish I could pay for him. For all four of them. But I can’t. All I can do is love more like Christ.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17

Psalm 71 reminds us as well, that God is a rock of refuge, to which  may continually come; HE has given the command to save ME (and others!) for He is the rock and fortress. ONLY God can save, no matter how desperately we desire to see a brother or sister come to faith in Him.

And at the end of the day I toss and turn deep into the night, knowing my lack of ability to convict with wise words is indeed surrendered to the magnification of Christ in all of His glory and yet—I so desperately want them to get it.

Christ is the same with us I think, as He begs us to not befriend the world. To the extent as such, that doing so is indeed enmity with Him. He tells us how He yearns jealously over the Holy Spirit He placed inside of us and then promises grace to be more and more.

I don’t understand it and I can’t live outside of it. Oh grace, how sweet the sound. Please fall upon my brothers and sisters here as their idols leave them severed from hope eternal, found ONLY in you oh precious Lord and Savior. Friends, please join me in praying for this mom, dad, and two boys. 

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