February 5, 2014

Finding Jesus in an Unexpected Community

If there were ever such a reminder that we were not created for this world, it is the lonely chasm of death. A stark reminder in our daily lives that something is not how it should be. Today, Blake and I and our newfound Belizean community are supporting the H’s as we whisper, “Where oh death is your sting?”

Tom and Patricia have welcomed us with open arms as we have been living in their guest home for almost a month now. Words cannot describe the level of unexpected camaraderie and friendship we have experienced, as well as guidance and direction as we are beginning a new life in a new country. Dr. H’s brother has been fighting cancer for a long time, and while it was expected, it is painful to finally get the phone call that confirms the sad news.

I am writing this with two different emotions swimming in and out of my head. I am painfully aware of how helpless grief can be. It isolates you and touches your heart deeply. Yet, I am also acutely aware of the importance of community. The small little community of Sanctuary, Belize, has swallowed up the H’s in love. They know that it’s been a battle and they know that their job is to simply love on Tom and Patricia.

Today, I feel so close to the body of Christ. So close to his hands and his feet. Because this grief is not mine to bear, but I am so close to it and I so desire to be a helping hand, I have a different perspective. I am seeing how the friends of the H’s have stepped in and reached out with love.

Blake and I are reading through the Bible together this year, and Belize has allowed us precious, beautiful moments every morning to be together and to be quiet. Waking up with the sunrise has turned into one of the most incredible blessings in our lives because the world is still at that hour and our hearts are anxious to know Jesus. This week, during our quiet time, I have been very overcome by the power in Scripture. The fierceness with which Jesus loves his people. The sacrifice that it costs to follow Him. The community that He wants with us. This week, I have been questioning and longing to know what that community looks like for Blake and I in Belize.

I don’t think that it will look like a typical church building and a Sunday morning between the pews. Our Sunday mornings are spent skimming the ocean for two hours and spending the rest of the day an island. Worshiping God has become tangible and unexpected. It has become a moment by moment thing. A “wow God these waves are big” or “wow God the sky is beautiful today” thing. Jesus has somehow become more real when I talk to Victor about gardening or to Ernesto about the need for business training in the Mayan villages. Now that I am outside of the “church” building, the body of Christ is becoming everyday. I don’t know what everybody in this community believes. I know that there are Catholics, Nazarenes, potential atheists, and a few other interesting ideas thrown around…but seeing them all come together with a common purpose is beautiful.

I want heaven to look like this. I want the church to look this. A body of people who might not agree on everything, but they come together to serve other people and be Jesus to them.

Someday I want to stand together with these people, these interesting and compassionate friends, and sing in heaven’s courts, “Where oh death is your sting?!” I cannot wait for that day of no more pain and no more death. I cannot wait to be united with Christ completely. He has felt so new and so real to me over the past few weeks, as if all the layers of polish and been stripped off and the only thing left is Jesus. I don’t have chapel anymore. I don’t have Sunday school. I don’t even have K-Love. All I have is Jesus, and He is enough for me.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.


John 16:22

View off of the dock last night...I just can't get over the tropic skies out here.