|Love the island sunsets and the visual reminders of God's goodness.|
As I walked home from one of my classes, tears filled my eyes. They were tears of frustration, doubt, and questioning.
I was disappointed by my students' apparent disinterest in the Biblical teaching being presented to them. I tried to separate my personal feelings from the knowledge that God and His Word were not being given the honor and respect they deserve.
Since last fall when the school and community passed through an intense spiritual battle, another type of warfare has emerged. I have encountered more behavioral problems among my students than I can recall at any other time in my nearly six years of teaching. If Satan cannot trip up our students spiritually, he will try for other loopholes.
To be honest, sometimes the challenges faced here are really illogical. Yesterday I typed a report for our water and sanitation team, which in April visited 13 different island villages. Many of those villages had been freely given a water purification system (worth $1000 each) to help provide clean and safe water for their communities. Yet, some were not using the system because one person had dominated and personally profited from it, or there was discord in the oversight committee or the village members. Huh?
Water-borne diseases plague the people who live on the lake - making it difficult to go to school or to work and causing them to repeatedly spend hard-earned shillings on medicine, so why in the world would an individual or community refuse to use a free system that provides good water?
Or why does a sponsored student, whom you have helped for the last 3+ years, decide in her senior year not to return to school and is rumored to be pregnant? Why? Why? I don't understand.
Why do students sleep or appear disinterested in class when their teachers are imparting important knowledge and skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives?
These questions make me think of how the Pharisees and Jewish religious leaders responded to Jesus and later to the apostles when they presented the clear Gospel truth. The Light of the World was right in front of their face and yet they were too blind to see Him.
The Truth they spent their lives searching and waiting for was within their reach, but their minds were too dark to embrace Him.
Yet, in my own life, I too have believed lies and embraced shadows rather than receiving light and truth from Jesus.
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." John 3:19-21
Satan loves darkness, confusion, oppression, illiteracy, what is illogical, etc. At times on the islands and in Uganda, it seems we are fighting an uphill battle. It gets tiring and discouraging and sometimes, like yesterday, I want to quit and go home.
But it is not my battle I am fighting and it is not up to me to ensure victory.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
When I become disheartened and the world seems to have more darkness than light, I take hope and courage in knowing that God remains good, faithful, victorious. In the many times I have hurt, disappointed and sinned against Him, He continually displays mercy, grace, forgiveness, and redemption. He is relentless in His pursuit of us and He never gives up.
Yesterday, I looked at the bright sun and marveled at the mercy of God - how the sun continues to rise and set and the rain to fall - on both the righteous and the unrighteousness. We certainly do not deserve such care, protection and provision, but God continues to bestow it because He remains good.
In the last days we are promised that evil and all its fruits will grow and accumulate, but do not lose heart, we serve the One who has overcome the world.
"'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'" John 16:33
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." I John 4:4
P.S. Forgive me if this post sounded like a rant. Rather I'd ask you to join me in continued prayer for God's Spirit to move in the islands, opening hearts and minds to Jesus and His life-changing truth. Thank you.