Oh, how we giggled, Kristen and I, especially late at night as we reflected on our day’s adventures throughout the Asia Minor trip. I can’t function on so little sleep without getting pretty giddy at times.
I could barely contain my laughter at how obviously out of my element I was during one particularly challenging restroom expedition. That awkward state was a useful trip companion. Experientially, it raised my awareness to the unnatural shift required to redirect habits.
After days of taking my shoes off before entering the homes we visited, I, unintentionally forget to remove my shoes following a quick dash to our van. From challenging water closets to forgotten shoes, these simple and obvious things experienced as a foreigner gave me an appreciation for the laborious attention required when shifting one’s paradigm. How much more crucial is the Spirit’s faith-enabling power for anyone to leave their cultural understanding of devotion, God, and eternal security for another?
Brought up in a Christian home, with praying parents, I see that it was fairly easy for me to stay in the rhythm of weekly worship, mid-week Bible study, and prayer with friends. And I am deeply grateful for my heritage. In light of the ease I’ve known, change seems impossible in a culture that is saturated with the rule and rhythms that dictate their approach to the divine.
I was captivated by the stubborn beliefs of our hosts as they squarely faced these hurdles. Convinced, their life’s investment is a ‘treatise of trust’ in the supernatural endeavor of the Holy Spirit who bridges gaping emotional and cultural divides. Their prayers are bold, calling on God’s kind interference. Steadily relying on the character of their Creator, a god unlike others, who disrupted time by sending His son, a God-man, to live, eat, and breathe among humanity.
This truth chafes against the local culture (or our own, as well, for that matter). Repeatedly our team heard a rationale that acknowledged what they saw as similarities and common ground in our spiritual beliefs. They seemed ok to co-exist with Christ without embracing Him.
My personal prayer is that the Spirit would make my heart ever more willing to follow Him out of my own cultural comforts to chafing truth. I want to echo and join bold prayers for this people to be supernaturally empowered to embrace what feels unnatural: the truth that God had a son, a perfect son, who loved and lived just for their joy and access to their Creator.
Whether you face a (giggle-inducing) awkward moment this week or not, challenge yourself to believe and ask for supernatural paradigm shifts in the culture of Asia Minor and for the hearts of individuals to receive the loving embrace of God’s son.
…Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Hebrews 3:6
Postscript from Liz: Want to hear more of the unvarnished truth from our trip? Come to the Weimer’s home on July 10, 7.30pm to see the pictures and hear more ‘stories from Asia Minor’.