Several times, in different cities, I brush shoulders with two women from Southeast Asia: in crowded elevators, at honored dinners, in rooms of thousands. Observe them sitting on the front row in prayerful posture as they watch their husbands take the stage, in small gatherings holding the microphone themselves. I listen to the words of wisdom spill out, give life. I wonder what it is like; to be the wife of a world changer, someone with that much influence transcending cultural borders.
Because in my own life, I have asked him these questions – you know the ones – about whether what I do is enough for Him when I look at the lives of others. Wonder if this writing really makes a difference, if I should be doing something tangible like scooping food for the poor, visiting the sick.
And on a day I plead these questions, I find myself seated in my van with these two women I observe over many years. Stand with them in the narrow aisle at Tuesday Morning. Find paper napkins for Thanksgiving to take back to Malaysia for one, while the other flits from aisle to aisle discovering treasures for grandchildren in Singapore.
Right there, surrounded by nutcrackers, shiny wrapping paper, dangly trinkets for the tree she asks me. Wonders about my past, what I write about, how I got to this place where I stand in life. She exchanges a page of her story, what she gives up to carry the bread to those that have never tasted yet around the world. The bread that satisfies, never grows stale.
I look at all the things that money can buy stacked on shelves behind her. In the joy that beams radiance in high cheekbones and eyes narrowing to small slits, I know that these things I can touch, they don’t fulfill what the heart longs for.
The clutch of a frail hand around my forearm, genuine words you must write on that particular day, the day I doubt, feel naked. It is Hesed revealed. Endless warehouses stacked full of bread, the fragrance of loving-kindness unexpected. Just when I thought the last crumb swept away, he speaks love, fills me up with who He is.
Did I really think that there wasn’t enough bread for me? That He forgot?
He reminds me that faith is the assurance of what we hope for, certainty of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Life isn’t always measured in tangible results, things we can see with the eyes, touch with the hands.
And these words, prayed from the sturdy twin houses built on rocks, they remove the lie that God is finite, that his love somehow reaches maximum capacity:
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
We, all of us bread, do make a difference. Keep believing, listening, thanking and join me with Ann today to count the gifts:
- For waking up to rain dripping on leaves outside my window.
- Only two nights of cooking and dishes this week.
- Perspective from conversations with leaders.
- Kind words whispered in the comment box.
- The smell of fresh compost.
- Flowers that continue to bloom profuse.
- Candlelight dinner on the back porch with family.
- Watching my husband grill steak with earphones in.
- Singing together in the car.