i'm currently reading a book called "left to tell" which is a true story from a woman that survived the Rwandan holocaust. it's unbelievable. i've never read anything like it. through all of the devastation she comes up against in this story, she never loses her faith...in fact, it's all she has left.
her entire family has been taken from her, and she is in hiding. her, and seven other women, are crammed in a bathroom 3 ft wide by 4 ft long. they have been hiding here for nearly two months. they have lost a considerable amount of weight, they stink, they have body lice, they are weak and they are starving. she goes on to tell about her days in this bathroom. the women take turns stretching ever 12 hours or so, because to move or stretch without everyone's coordination would mean an elbow in a face, or a knee in a rib. in the mean time, between stretch breaks and sleeping, she prays. 15-20 hours a day she prays. she prays for her safety. she prays that she would endure this. she prays for her family. she prays for forgiveness. and she even prays that god would forgive the killers that are hunting her. during certain moments when she fears they are about to be discovered, she begins to pray that god would not let them be found. she prays until beads of sweat are running down her forehead. until someone startles her and lets her know the threat has passed. she hears satan's voice constantly telling her that she deserves to die. that she will be found, raped, murdered. she prays that god would take the thoughts away, the lies. she prays in god's name, and she gives her life totally and completely up to him.
it's incomprehensible for me to think about this situation. it's also incomprehensible for me to think about praying for 15-20 hours a day. i can barely manage a prayer once a day, and she is spending the majority of each day in prayer. i can't imagine what that would do to your life. how it would change you, define you, inspire you. i am put to shame when i think about how lucky i am. how free i am. how choosy i am. i make time for god when it's convenient for me. sometimes i wish he was all i had so i could rediscover him in a new way.
as i've been reading this book i've experienced a bit of a heart change. i can't ever know the intense love that god has for his children, but i think i got a glimpse of it today. for no apparent reason, when leaving the grocery store, i met eyes with the guy pushing the carts back into the store. he was middle-aged, which seemed unusual. and i wondered what his story was. i am too guilty of making judgments and being hard on people. i dismiss people too easily as weird, creepy, gross. i don't look past outward appearances. but today i didn't see anything but this man's heart. i continued to watch him and i felt a wave of emotion come over me for this person. this cart guy. it was like god was showing me, 'jackie. this is how i feel about him. this is how i feel about you. this is how i feel about people...all the time. i love them so much.' i just sat there and held on to that feeling. i wanted it to stick. i wanted to return home and feel it. to take it with me to work tomorrow, into my interactions with people. i wanted to live it, breathe it and let it sink into the depths of me.
i hope i get there one day. i know i will never be able to comprehend the hugeness of the LOVE of God, but i do believe that he will give me new eyes. and new perspectives.
we've been created in his image, and he loves us ever so much. i want to love him more. i pray that i will.