India, you are a wild and contrasting country: ancient and modern, beautiful and dreadful, kind and indifferent, wealthy and poor. I never imagined you would infect me like you have. The smells, the culture, the people…India, you are an intoxicating mix of what makes life beautiful and what makes life hard, harsh, and cruel. In an unfair twist, in my western I- know- better ignorance, I am slightly shocked by the impact you have had on me.
As I prepared to visit you, I prayed for the Lord’s strength and love to invade my soul. Lord, fill me with Your passion and desire for this land 6,000 miles away. That is a dangerous prayer. Love is always dangerous…rarely safe. I was not prepared for the invading, fierce army of love that the Lord bestowed upon me. My heart will never be the same.
The danger comes not in the denial of the prayer, but in the very giving of my request…the imparting of the love desired. I am reminded of the conversation between Susan and Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
You, precious India, were so ready to receive His love. Hurting people needing to hear the good news graciously surrendered pain and fear. Precious sons and daughters were welcomed home. Orphans found homes and families. I found you.
And that is the danger. The needs of so many are crushing. To have eyes to see and the love to feel left me feeling small, insignificant. What could I do? How could I ever make a difference in the midst of so many struggles?
So in my emptiness, as I searched the scriptures, I was reminded of the familiar story of Mary from Bethany and her anointing of Jesus in Mark 14. The religious leaders were harshly rebuking her for wasting expensive perfume, for her act of worship.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 6-8
The passage came alive to me and anointed my hurting heart. She did what she could. Jesus, those words spoke life into me and brought me back. You saw me where I was and called my name. You brought me to India. You arranged each and every encounter and ordained all the words spoken. Precious Savior, thank you!
Oh, India! You wrecked me! In the best way possible, I am not who I was. You have whetted my appetite to do what I can with what I have been given. I can do what I can. I have tasted and seen the goodness of God in action. I love you, India…a gift of answered prayer. I took a risk on loving you. It was the best risk to take. At all times, bet on love, because love wins. Always!