Friday, August 26, 2016

It's okay to get ugly... cry ugly... be ugly

This summer, I had the opportunity to go to a city in Southeast Asia. This city was very diverse. It had Chinese, Indians, Malays, Europeans, Africans, etc. I love that about the city! With so many different cultures and backgrounds the city has, it brings a variety of religions as well: Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Free Thinkers, etc. It was so cool to meet different people and learn about their cultures and beliefs. 

For about a month during our summer, we had a condominium up on the forty-first and forty-second floors. We had amazing views from every angle of that condo and I loved to go out on one of the porches and just sit, look, and pray over the city. 

Then, it started to get hard. One of the first nights we were there as I was looking over the city, reading my Bible, and listening to music, a single tear escaped my eye. I quickly wiped the tear away, but the tears kept coming. At first, I thought I was doing something wrong. There was no reason to cry. I’m a big girl. But, the city. Most of the people I am looking out at are . . . lost. They have no hope. Then, I saw this mountain far out beyond the city with just a few lights on the tip of it, allowing me to be able to see it. The tears kept flowing. I can remember getting on my knees and saying, “hold on, just you wait. I’m coming. I’m coming.” Because, how can they call on the One they have not believed in, and how can they believe in the One of Whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (See Romans 10:14) I do not know anything about the people up on that mountain. I don’t know if they are Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or something else. All I know is what the evidence points to: they are lost. The reality is, if I believe the Bible is true without any mixture of error, if I believe that Jesus came, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, performed many miracles, died on the cross, rose from the dead three days later, if I believe Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus was, is, and is to come, and if I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then I have to face the fact that those who do not believe in Jesus as Lord are lost for all of eternity. And sitting up there, overlooking all these people, it broke me. 

I was broken, and I still am convinced I don’t need to be fixed. 

All I could do was pray. I cried out to God with deep, deep sobs. My heart felt like it was being ripped out of my chest. This prayer happened quite a few times during our stay in the condo. The more I prayed these tearful, ugly prayers, the more I realized that it was okay. It’s okay to get ugly before God. It’s okay to show Him our hearts. And the more I did it, the easier it was to hear His still small voice to go and talk to that girl on the train, to let the Holy Spirit work speak through me to my grab driver, and to lead with the Gospel and filter with the Gospel. 

Then I grew hungry. I could not get enough of His Word. I wanted it more and more! I wanted to not just read it, but to know it. AND I COULDN’T KEEP IT TO MYSELF. I had to go out and share it with people. All of this is because I believe broken and ugly prayers get the attention of God. 

It is okay to get ugly, cry ugly, be ugly. We are the most beautiful when we get ugly before God. And don’t let it stop there. Allow God to use your brokenness to further His kingdom. 

Let me say one more thing and then I am done. Please do not think that what I did this summer was in any way significant. Do not think I am qualified for the work He has set before us. I am not. If anything, I am disqualified. I have messed up in countless ways. But God, by His infinite grace and mercy, has qualified me. And God has qualified all who have carried their cross and followed Him. When we have done that, we have surrendered our rights to Him. We have given up all we have and all that are we are to do the work He has called us to! So if you think about it, what I did by going to Southeast Asia was not so significant, it was simply obedient. We are all called to GO, be obedient, and complete the Great Commission! 

So let’s go! Let us carry our crosses. Let us surrender our rights to Christ. Let us allow God to use us in ways we never thought we could be used. Let us shine our lights from the highest of the mountaintops to the bottom of the valleys. Let us follow Him into the Great unknown. Let us sing with all of our hearts, “take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.” Let us need the Word of God like we need the water that we drink. Let us fight the battle of which the enemy has a head start. Let us plunder the gates of hell! And let us with every breath and every tear and every step fulfill the Will of the Father, starting on our knees with broken, wholehearted, ugly prayers. 

So Others May Hear and Live, 

Shared from Alex's personal blog,