Our good friends Bill and Barb Herzog were coming. I was full of anticipation of spending long hours talking, sharing and going deep. They are people who fill me, and have been for a long time. Whenever I’m with them, I am encouraged and my burdens become lighter. I remember my purpose, I remember God’s affection and grace towards me. Do you have people like this in your life? God wants us to. Perhaps it was my neediness that caused me to so look forward to their visit. Perhaps I was looking forward to their presence; perhaps to the blessing they always leave in me. My relationship with Jesus is similar. I often seek what He can give me rather than simply seeking the presence of my King, my Maker, the Lover of my soul. Jesus knows we are thus wired.
Whatever the state of my heart, my anticipation for Bill and Barb’s visit was true. Then they arrived. They arrived during a time when I was unexpectedly pulled in many directions and I was left with little time to spend with them. My heart and my time was full of distractions. The brief moments we had together were special, filling and fun. Their hearts rubbed off on me a little. I was encouraged, but … there was so little time and so many distractions. Now they are gone. I won’t see them again for at least a year. As I write, I feel as one feels when something of value is broken or wasted. Regret, sadness…
And yet, their hearts challenged me just by being with them a short time. Their trip was quite unique. They were mugged by men with knives in Belem during their first days in Brasil. They came during a time when we faced unexpected circumstances that forced us to disrupt their plans, making their time here much different than they had hoped.
But how they handled the curve balls thrown at them really spoke to my heart. They were so honest in how they struggled with the mugging, which resulted in loss of a camera, credit cards, cash, and, for Barb, a broken wrist. We were able to worship together several times (far fewer times than we had hoped) and their heart for worshipping Jesus rubbed off on me. Their significant dependence on the Holy Spirit for everything in their life and ministry made me take another look at my own. The flexibility they had when faced with many (almost daily) changes of schedule was downright heavenly. In this, they so communicated their love for us. They made it so obvious that it was us that they loved and not the Amazon, a particular list of "to do’s", or even ministry opportunities. Their attitudes were so Jesus-like and left me wanting more of Jesus in me. They trusted in God’s control of even the interruptions. They focused on loving us, in the midst of our chaos, instead of "getting things done". We joked with them that the theme of their trip was, "Welcome to our world!" However, they demonstrated trust that God would accomplish His purposes during their trip even though their agenda was altered from how they thought God would best be glorified through them. Their focus remained unchanged. Their hearts continued to worship Jesus, to surrender to His will, to love us, and to remain joyful, in all the human confusion. What an example for one who seems to lose his kingdom focus and his joy so easily.
God does His work through His people. He communicates His heart predominantly through His kids. He challenges, corrects, teaches, heals, and loves through His body. How much more this morning, I want to be a vessel that He can use in whatever circumstance … like Bill and Barb.