While I was in Cambodia, I thought a lot about living in the “space between”. That’s what I call the gap between what we know and what we experience.
What I mean is this. I know that God is faithful. The Scriptures are full of stories of God’s faithfulness throughout history. And I’ve experienced that faithfulness in several unmistakable ways in my own life. But when I look around, I see a lot of darkness that calls that faithfulness into question. Where was God’s faithfulness in the killing fields of Cambodia? Where is Jesus in the brothels there, among kids forced into prostitution? Or among the brick factory workers, hopelessly burdened with insurmountable debt? Or in the midst of so much dehumanization and desperation?
During our trip, we visited the International Justice Mission office in Phnom Penh. Restoration committed all our church’s 2014 Holy Week offerings to IJM Cambodia, and we wanted to learn more about their work. And just yesterday, I happened to visit the IJM office in Washington, DC, and I participated in their regular 11 am office prayer.
I almost fell out of my chair when someone stood up to tell the story of a call they received about two weeks ago. The call was from a Cambodian government official. All of a sudden there was significant progress on a matter IJM had been waiting on for years.
So here is the thing: during our trip to Cambodia two weeks ago, our team broke into two groups to prayer walk. One team walked the red light district, the other team walked with young ones through the more kid-friendly government corridors. At the time I was disappointed not to be on the more adventurous team, but Hunter and I walked with our kids through wide gardens from the Independence Monument to the Royal Palace. I prayed disjointed and distracted prayers for those we saw and for government leaders (praying with a six and eight year old for an hour involves constant interruption). We prayed for the King and Prime Minister and for the leaders in Parliament. As we passed the Justice Department, we prayed for judges, investigators and police. Ours weren’t the prettiest or most eloquent prayers, but we offered them up anyway.
Yesterday, when I heard the story of the recent progress and realized it coincided with our time in Cambodia, I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that our feeble prayers may have found the ear of God.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy…. Psalm 8.2
Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19.14
The challenge of the space between has more to do with my poor eyesight than the real and transforming presence of the living God.
~ Carolyn Weimer