Why Africa?

Posted on January 20, 2012

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By John

As we have been getting ready to leave, there are all sorts of situations in which our move to Africa comes up. Closing a utility account, selling our stuff off Craigslist to people who are surprised by our empty house. Mostly people say things like, “Well at least it is warm there.” We all laugh politely and then they hurriedly hand me cash without negotiation, take my coffee table and leave quickly.

I forget how strange it must be from the outside. That most people do not do this with their lives. I have lived with the dream—the desire—for a decade. It can begin to feel automatic, inevitable, and normal. Then there is that awkward moment when you realize you sound like a fanatic, running across the world to a dark and dangerous place.

It is odd; my own own brokenness has lead to this path. For years, I wanted so much to justify myself, my existence, to make some form of an impact on the world for God. This is laughable, as he certainly does not need me to make an impression for him. He was not content, though, to stay far away, he broke into my life, and rescued me from that need to make something of myself. I no longer need to do something grand to justify my existence. My existence is already justified in being an adopted son of God.

And yet, it has been his plan all along, placing Africa on my heart, not letting me shake it. I have these conflicting desires for adventure and comfort. I wanted fat babies, and lots of cushion in my retirement. I crave the ‘security’ of making money and having enough to spare. Instead he gives me himself. He gives me the security of a new identity, and I crave to carry him as a beacon into the world. This security does not end in layoffs; it does not stop when no one is giving. It is as unshakeable as Christ himself.

Africa longs for security. Her people are ravaged by war, famine, poverty, and spiritual brokenness. They need a rescuer. Not just a military to protect them, or integrity in government(though those things are necessary!); they need someone to give them an identity. Christ is the one who is breaking in to rescue us from all our failing ways to try and make something of our lives, and I am driven to share that good news.

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