It's weird that three weeks ago I was in India. In some ways it feel like years ago. It amazes how easily I can adjust back to America. Being in India this time was really different for me. For starters, I took a team from America to visit Kolkata. In the past in always been the opposite. I was living in India and teams would come to visit us! I traveled with Antley Fowler, Johnathon White, Courterney Bowser and Charlie Chupp. It was an honor to travel to India with these friends. If you want to see pictures of our time click here. http://www.theignitionpoint.org/index.php?option=com_expose&Itemid=48
We had a long flight there but hit the ground running. We went on a walking tour of the city, worked at a Mother Teresa's home, visited all the units of Sari Bari, Freeset and Love Kolkata Arts. We had six days on the ground so it was a quick trip for the team. I ended up staying a couple days extra to spend time with my friends in Kolkata.
My first impression of the trip is laughter...yes laughter. When i lived in India there wasn't a lot of laughter. I spent most of my time being on guard, putting my head down, and getting the job done. It was so refreshing to go to India with people who were seeing it for the first time. They were in awe of everything. Everything was new and exciiting. They didn't care if they got ripped off by taxi cab drivers or stared at. I found how it lightened how i walked around the city and I carried myself there. I love loved my time with my friends.
And of course, God was present with us. I feel like God keeps driving home the same truth over and over again in my life for the past 6 years and this time is no exception. "I will never leave you or forsake you. By my wounds you are healed. Nothing can seperate you from my love. " I keep finding a Jesus who is so present and so "God with us" that I am once again reminded how He is God and I am not. I keep realizing more and more that its God character to meet us in our suffering. To be with us. To never leave us alone. I used to (and still do a lot) question God. question when someone says this world is under His control. question How can a loving God let suffering happen? question that is God is so powerful why dosen't he stop it?
and in someways maybe I am asking the wrong questions. They are very human questions. My questions beg for understanding. They long to know 'WHY?" But when it comes down to God's character, to His love, to God's essence....i believe its presence. Somehow I feel like God is teaching me that Him being present is the answer.....the answer to all my "why?" questions. Because I can tell you that offering presence in the midst of suffering...of any kind....is not my character. I think of the hurt in my family and how i withdrew (and still do). or the suffering of my friends in Sonagachi. I think of times when i run or distract myself from whatever hurts. Or I find myself in the opposite direction where i choose to stay with my friends in their suffering and it almost literally feels like its breaking my heart and makes me question all that is good in the world. God never ever moves away. Ever. when I think about the amount of pain in Sonachai alone......it's uncomprehensible. or when i hear one story of a woman from Phillips Highway....the suffering is incredible. I do no want my heart to break.
And For all the time I rail against God about the suffering i have seen or the pain in my life....and I am talking unabashed, ferocious anger...for all the times i shrink back from what makes me exposed or uncortable....God dosen't. and that alone makes Him God.
I don't know why suffering happens. I do not believe in any way shape or form God delights in evil, human trafficking, rape, oppression, addiction....I think its our falleness. But God being God dosen't leave us there. Nothing can seperate us from His love. That is inhuman. That is a God who can make all things new. Who can take any amount of suffering and make it new. He can do all this because He knows. He is with us through our darkest times whether we believe it or not. His Character is love.
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