Going on my trip to Ethiopia was like drinking from a fire hose of emotional and spiritual experiences. While I’ve done my best to process and describe them one of them flew under my radar and went unnoticed. It took another experience here in Dallas to bring it to light and help me start processing it.
Last Wednesday, I hung out with one of the guys in my community group for a couple hours and we caught up about our lives. Afterwards, I was walking back to my car and a woman approached me to ask for some money. Her name was Erica and instead of just giving her some spare cash, which is a bad idea, I just started up a conversation with her.
After getting her name, I asked why she needed the money. She said that she was trying to get some food so I offered to walk with her to the 7-11 and buy her some food with my credit card. I tried to get her to open up as we walked the two blocks, but I couldn’t get much from her.
As we neared the 7-11, I switched gears and told her a quick version of my testimony. When we got there, I bought her a couple snacks and a drink of her choosing. We walked out of the store and she made it clear that she wasn’t interested in more conversation, but she was grateful for how I listened to what she did share.
That’s when my heart broke for Erica.
I wanted to help her so badly and at the same time knew I couldn’t make her get the help she needs. I told her again about some places she could go to find help or get resources and we said our goodbyes. As I walked away, the memory of my heart rushed me back to my time in Ethiopia.
I heard my fair share of no’s in Ethiopia and saw people unwilling to hear the Gospel. My heart broke in those moments as well. When I walked away from Erica on Wednesday night, I realized that in those moments God’s heart had been breaking right alongside mine.
I can’t break down the spiritual mechanics of what exactly happened in those moments. I do know both of our hearts broke for the same reason and that truth means the world to me. Knowing God’s heart cares for others in a similar way to mine comforts me, gives me strength, and fills me up with courage.
If God’s heart cares anything like mine, it does so with a power multiplied by thousands and with completely pure motives. That means I can fall back on a heart that’s bigger than imagining and know I’m falling back on something absolutely good. I don’t mean to say that my heart is a measure of what’s good.
I mean to say that connecting with God’s heart helps me trust His heart.
I can fill my head with all kinds of knowledge about God, but I can’t make myself trust His heart. A lack of this trust makes life difficult when hard times happen. In those times, I doubt God cares about me and is for me.
I could graduate seminary without gaining a trust in God and uprooting those doubts. Connecting with God over someone who needs Him in their lives does the job though. It points to how much God cares for the lost and that includes me.
That woman doesn’t need one more drop of grace than I do. I don’t know her story, but I’m confident we’ve both walked a difficult road and our hearts needs healing. We also both need a loving Father to hold us close.
Knowing God’s heart breaks for her shows me that it also breaks for me. It shows me God wants to cover her with grace, give her all the healing she needs, and hold her closer than she can imagine. He feels the same way about me and I really started to see that for the first time when I walked away from Erica last Wednesday.
I’m not done processing through the Ethiopia trip and what happened last Wednesday. Something tells me I won’t be done for some time. God is going to finish the work He started in me though and that means I don’t have to worry about making sure my heart finishes changing today.
Instead, I can be confident a God who cares about me will watch over me and help me run the face all the way to the finish.
Do you trust God’s heart? Do you believe He wants what’s best for you? When things get hard, do you lean back on those truths?
Image Copyright: frankieleon
As I was about to publish this post, I realized the title may infer a belief in more than one God. To clarify any possible confusion, I believe in only one God; the God of the Bible. I believe what the Bible says about that God is true and that He holds an exclusive sovereignty and omnipotence.by