A few things I've learned (and relearned) from being here in South Africa, reading a bunch of great books and hearing some awesome speakers.
- Comfort is my sworn enemy. It also is a great enemy of so many American churches. Jesus did not call us to be comfortable. Having church in a tin shack in the cold with a bunch of youth who speak another language is not something I was initially at ease with. But God is moving there and it is an amazing experience. We make it so much harder on ourselves to spread the Word when we only do it in comfortable places.
- A lot of times we like to see God as "a nice, middle class, American Jesus." We think, 'He's not serious when He says to hate mother, father, sister, brother, etc. He won't really ask any of us to sell all of our possessions and give to the poor.' NO. He absolutely can ask these things of us. If you keep in mind that in Jesus' time the cross was not a symbol for Christianity, but a torturous way to kill criminals, picking up your cross, your own personal torture device, suddenly doesn't seem so easy.
- God loves us. He really does. And He protects those who love him. But, not in the ways we might expect. I thought for a long time that since I love God, nothing bad or nothing too evil would happen to me. However, working in this orphanage with these kids, I realize how legalistic and selfish this thought is.
Awful things have happened to so many people. Did they not love God enough? No. In the bible it says that if you truly live this life, you WILL be persecuted. Satan isn't after those who sorta kinda are Christians. He's after those who are actively pursuing the kingdom of God. But God's protection is deeper than physical harm. It's a guarantee that I'll see him when my final day ends. The couple of years of suffering we may endure here on earth for God's glory is nothing compared to an eternity in his blissful, sweet presence.
Dominique Pettway, a student at Lamar University, serving as a Go Now missionary at an orphanage in South Africa.