Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Journey to Africa and Beyond Part 9

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7   Part 8

On our way back from our safari (which, by the way, is Swahili for journey) we drove through a couple of dust storms. It was pretty wild. I tried to take a picture but it really didn't turn out that great. We closed the windows in the vans as best we could (think old school bus windows), but the dust kept coming in.

When we got back to the university, one of the ladies was standing outside our van when I got of and she took one look at me and said "Oh honey", and I could tell from her look and her tone I was a mess. I looked around and no one else was dirty. Just me.

It took me a while, like a few months, to figure this out. I should have known, but I wasn't thinking right at the time. I'm going to tell you something you really don't want to know about me, but my face sweats. I know, I'm a lady and I should say "perspires" but the moisture that accumulates on my face when I'm hot is way more disgusting than perspiration... it's sweat. So, when we went through that dust storm, all of the dust settled on my face. Paints a lovely picture, doesn't it? (No, I didn't have a picture taken.)

I went inside and stood next to the bathtub and looked at my face in the mirror. I really was a mess. I looked at my clothes and my face and said a little prayer that went something like this: "Please God, send us a little rain so I can go out and get this dirt off me so I don't get the bathtub all dirty and no one has to wash the filth off my clothes.

In that moment, I realized that's how so many of us approach God. It's why so many never approach God. They think they have to get cleaned up before they can come to God. What they don't realize is that God is in the dirt and the mire with us. He comes into our mess and he is the one who washes us. We don't have anything to do with it, other than just showing up and allowing him access to clean up our mess. He's just waiting for us to ask.

I don't remember if it was during the trip or shortly after that this song really hit me. The lyrics are included, so I won't repeat them but there is one part that really sticks out to me as I write this.
I wanna come home but the sands of time surround me and the dirt's finally covered my shame.
Sometimes, we press down so hard on the sin in our lives that it gets buried under all the other junk in our lives and we can't even see it anymore. It's in those times that God has to scrape away at the outer level of dirt to get down to the heart of the matter. It's not a fun process, but it's worth it.

to be continued...

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