I walked in the back of the sanctuary with the crying baby. This walk is familiar to me. I call it the wail-walk. I have walked with a wailing baby, her language of needs and want of comfort pressing against my chest, while my soul wailed out and tears took the language of my needs and want of comfort to heaven’s bottle. I have walked this walk and touched heavens door. In these walks I have covenanted with the Lord. I have prayed for children in these walks. I have prayed for miracles in these walks. There at the back of the sanctuary I wailed one more time last Sunday, as my heart broke opened every gate of rigidity.
I saw them heads, real people, my people. There they sat, husbands and wives, children in all dress colors and sizes. Then the waves of emotion rose…without warning. I am talking about the great wailing. I wailed for each of them and the ties that bind my hearts to them. This time I was not wailing for a need or comfort. I was wailing because the comfort had come. The same comfort and deliverance had now done a restlessness in my heart. I had been part of this church for the last 14 years. We walked in with a 2 month old baby on a summer afternoon and ever since then this place had been a place of refuge and belonging for us. Children were born to us here and children were send home also for us, here. The church rallied around us and invested in us more than we could have ever done back. This is where I formed friendships and sisterhood that built me in ways I could not have planned. Every relationship was not always joy and peace, but the wormwood and gall of the real life were also blessings in disguise.
This is where I soaked in scriptures and a real passion for the word of God touched my heart. This is where I was discipled in consistency and commitment. This is the place I practiced perseverance. Here I learned to give. Here I learned to forgive and learnt the consequences of un forgiveness. Here I learned to teach the word to little kids and cherish someone else’s kids. Here I saw the cycle of life when I saw the kids I taught grow up and they in turn teach my kids. Here God blessed me with mothers, and grand mothers for my children. Here I also learned to unwrap conflicts and see myself for what I am capable of in the light of raw humanness and vulnerability in myself and others. When selfishness rubbed on human hearts and relationships severed, I grieved like I grieved the death of my children. This is the place I have grieved more than once on the loss of people who we shared life with.
And now, 14 years later, the call of God to step out with the gospel has gripped both our hearts and I stand with another baby in the back of the church and wails, “Lord this is my family. Oh I feel that, going out with the gospel will also sever the very comforts and needs that I asked for, and you answered, right here.” When I got married 15 years ago, I did so because the love for a man made me leave the comfort of my home to start a family. I knew my parents house still had food for me, there was a room for me. I was taken care of. But eventually the time came to extend the grace I received and grew up with. I feel the same in the comfort of my family-India Christian Assembly. There is still place for me here and shelter and food that is comfortable. But the restlessness is growing even as the comforts increase.
I only have utter gratefulness for this alma mater that instructed my spirit and life, and where the God of mercies met me at the back of the sanctuary, with a call to step into the front lines of the mission field. So we step out in faith to extend the grace we received. It is a call to die and serve, it s also a call to show courage and resist. It takes wisdom from God to know where to die and where to stand up. My prayer at the eve of our commissioning is that we would not ever settle down for a cause forgetting the great Cause. Oh, for the grace to endure afflictions like a good servant of Jesus Christ and be poured out as a drink offering.
“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Tim 4:5