The way things are seen

About ten years ago my wife and I had the privilege of buying our first house. It was great ranch home on about an acre lot in the Crieve Hall area of Nashville, TN. After being there for a year or so we decided that we needed to purchase an 8′ x 8′ shed that would allow us to house our lawnmower and yard tools in a safe and dry place. It was well made and served its purpose well.

Today as we continued our work in the township of Ocean View I couldn’t help but be humbled as we began to install three twin beds in a shed of similar size intended to sleep a family of six. It was not of the same quality or craftsmanship of the shed in our yard, but it was their home.

After our time in Ocean View we traveled to the wetlands in the township of Masiphumalele. Masi is a township that houses around 35,000 people that live on about 100 areas or on average 350 people per acre. The same amount of land in which our first house and shed sat houses hundreds of people in the most poverty stricken area I have ever seen.

As we traveled through the maze of corregated metal shacks I was struck and pained by the circumstances in which we were currently maneuvering and that these children lived. I couldn’t process in my mind everything I was seeing. As I became more overwhelmed I couldn’t help but recall 1 Samuel 16:7 – “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

As we have had the opportunity to spend time with these families over the days it has been a joy to be able to see this lived out firsthand. The love of Christ, the spirit of giving and the ability to find joy in tough circumstances is amazing and shows the true heart of people. The same houses that I looked at and saw nothing but rusted metal God looks at and sees a beautiful and blessed place.

God never promises that through faith in Him we will not face adversity or troubles during our time on earth. But He does promise that though faith and acceptance of Christ we will live in unrivaled beauty in eternity with Him.

One Comment on “The way things are seen”

  1. Shay LeRoy

    Once you have moved within a thin place, all of life is perceived differently. It becomes clear that the only home we really need is the eternal one. It seems to me that in the midst of such poverty and joy, these people you have all walked and worked among and prayed and loved and hugged know somehow deep within their being that their circumstances here on earth only give them more reason to rejoice in what they do have without the distraction of all the things that draw us away from God. There is gift and grace in all things and I am humbled that in the midst of such poverty and lack of basic resources there are people who seek the light rather than wallow in the dark, who choose joy rather than self-pity, who welcome strangers proudly into a humble home not knowing it wouldn’t even qualify as a home for lawn equipment in this country where we live. It is their home, a place to welcome God and is therefore, holy. We walk on sacred ground when we walk where God is. You likely need no church to find God in the thin places where you are walking. You are all my heroes.

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