My first born was launched this summer, like an arrow from a bow… into the world. I felt the release from my hand, and I watched her fly through the air. There were tears, even as my eyes followed her flight. That was three months ago. Now I watch from a distance as God releases her from one country to another and from one continent to the next. This month I SEE a flaming arrow soaring into the darkness.
She has dreamed of India since she was young when she watched A Little Princess over and over. The charming stories told of a magical place drew her in and from that time on, she imagined herself going. Of course, she grew up and learned that India is not like the stories in the movie, but that did not deter her from her desire to go there. Today she will realize that dream. She will see the exotic culture and meet the people of this nation which has occupied her thoughts for so long. She will arrive in India and into a place that can be hostile to the hope she carries.
This place has darkness like she has never seen…the human suffering alone will be enough to overwhelm her. There will be poverty, homelessness, and hopelessness. She will feel heartache that is born of compassion. She will feel frustration that much of what she sees she will not be able to fix. It is all the things you, as a parent, which for your children to avoid…because it hurts. It is painful to see the reality of life up close. To smell poverty. To hear suffering. To touch tragedy. To taste tears.
Yet, as much as it hurts, it is also so very beautiful. The face of God is found among the downtrodden. He is in the streets. He is with the orphans and slaves. He is near to the widows and the outcasts. They are his heartbeat. They are the ones he came to rescue. In carrying his love, and expressing it simply, my arrow ignites a passionate flame in a foreign land. If one daughter can do that, just think what a whole squad of sons and daughters can do! The hope and love will spread, and the result will be hearts that overflow with joy despite the darkness…maybe even because of it. Hearts will be forever changed because of the interaction that takes place when those who serve come into contact with ‘the least of these.’
It is all so very much like God isn’t it? Pluck young men and women up, plop them into a land that is completely foreign in every way, remove them from everyone and everything they know, and use them despite the fact that they don’t speak the language. He gives them a common tongue with those they meet along the journey. It is a smile, a giving hand, a compassionate heart, and a joyful life. No barrier can hide the glow of those who have sacrificed to go unto the world, and no one can hinder the work God is going to do through them and to them, of this I am convinced. He has set them on fire, and released them to soar, spreading his love everywhere they go…including into the darkness.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.