As many of you know, we have an international student with us for the summer. He is brilliant - much smarter than I'll ever be! He comes from a Third World nation and plans to go back, after earning at least two, possibly three degrees and we have no trouble believing he will achieve this goal. His dream is to eventually go back to his country and use his knowledge to help bring his nation out of poverty and I often look at him and think: someday he may be running his country... for real.During this summer, we have learned that he does like pork but.. he doesn't :) Let me explain. He likes the taste of it but he is afraid to eat it. In his lifetime he (and all the students who come from his country apparently) have seen for their own eyes that eating pork is not always safe. They know first hand that some foods are likely to make you sick. And they are serious about their summer studies so the last thing they want is to miss school because of food poisoning.Phil and I, based on our lifetime of experiences, know that pork is about as safe as any other meat in this country, which is fairly safe. Even beyond that, we know that pork and chicken (another iffy item in their eyes) are processed in a totally different way here than they would be in a third world country.But how do you explain that to someone who: A) is brilliant, B) has 23 years of tangible experience to back up his beliefs, C) doesn't speak our language well, and D) has gotten to the top of his entire nation academically by relying on his own determination, decision-making ability and intelligence? Well, the answer to that question is: right now we just don't eat a whole lot of pork or chicken around here... :) In other words, sometimes we are tempted to say that our student came to us from Africa by way of Missouri and we can't always figure out how to show him that what we are saying is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.And sometimes this frustrates me. I want to say, "Haven't we proven by our words and our actions that we are committed to your well-being? Do you really think that we would encourage you to do anything we felt was full of unnecessary risk?"But then I saw myself. And Jesus. Sparing over issues that He has tried to show me again and again by His words and His actions - things He has tried to tell me through His word. However, the fact is that what He says often just doesn't jive with my 57 years of experience. And I didn't make it through an entire career by being stupid. And... well, you get the picture - on and on it goes....Sometimes I have to wonder, does He get frustrated with me? Does He want to reach down, tap me on the shoulder, and say, "Hellloooo! You hoo! Cathie.. um.. look up! Haven't I proven by my life and by my death that I am totally trustworthy, that I'm committed to your well-being? More than that, haven't I answered prayers for you, walked with you through dark valleys and brought you out on the other side when it didn't look possible? Do you really think I would encourage you to do anything that I felt was ultimately detrimental to your well-being?"Clearly, Phil and I know that there is a whole 21st century world out there full of advances that our student has yet to glimpse. So... how much more of a world is out there that Jesus fully understands but Phil and I have yet to glimpse?So if He says that the abundant life, which He came to bring us, can be found by extending love to our enemies as He did, then maybe it can?
And if He says that He has prepared a place for us which we will absolutely love, then maybe we will?Just thinking about my own spiritual journey. I'm from Arkansas, by way of Missouri, but still.. Heaven bound:)He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32