Rousing Her Radiance: Day 36
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in a field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, it grows into the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches’ (Matt. 13:31-32).
Becoming a healer of broken ones starts small. It begins with a granule of faith: ‘I believe You for this Jesus; help my unbelief.’ Bobby believed for her community in Shillong, a state in the heights of northern India. She embodied mercy. In orphanages, to the homeless, and throughout a network of Pentecostal churches, she served generously.
Yet no one in her somewhat rigid ‘church-world’ talked about gender-benders, the sexually violated and violators, prostitutes of all sorts, the hushed-up adulteries of her ‘button-downed’ denomination. She wanted to serve sinners. And she knew people needed a safe place to own the whole of their broken lives.
Seed faith: ‘Jesus, how do we make our church a healing community?’
She came with a friend to our conference in Thailand. She came again with more friends and received training. She owned her disintegration; like all of us, she had to first ‘enter the waters’ for shameful wounds and regrets from her past. Jesus surprised her. He wanted to wash her feet and she let Him.
Mercy watered the seeds in Bobby and team. She wanted the truth to go deep and germinate in each one so that God might entrust them with sinners. They ‘worked’ the program: I’ve rarely seen that kind of disciplined vulnerability on a team. They allowed Jesus to plow the seed profoundly within them.
Abbey and I went to Shillong and witnessed the stirrings of new life from their depths. While ministering to the group—men and women, young and old, married and singles—we saw a vision of water flowing from the heights of Shillong throughout India, now the world’s largest nation. Wishful dreaming? Or the generous gift of God to one who believes? Will this seed become a tree house and shelter many healers-to-come?
In the meantime, Bobby had local visitors, ‘Nicodemus’-es who came at night to confess homosexuality, abuses, infidelities and…a host of things that a traditional people dare not admit. God was coaxing this little plant into a shade tree. Elders who doubted a woman could do this noticed the fruitfulness of ‘Living Waters’ in Shillong.
Bobby sent a young couple to serve on another training in Thailand. There they met a group of turned-on Catholics from the south of India and the two groups bonded. These amazing Christians laid down judgments of the others’ tradition and healed together.
They committed to serving each other—the northern Pentecostals who were seasoned in doing the ‘work’ of Living Waters, and the multitude of Catholics from the south who were raring to go but inexperienced. Guess what? They respect each other. This is a miracle of Christian unity, perhaps an outworking of the humility it takes to wash one another’s feet. One simply doesn’t have time to lord a rosary or a bible verse over a hurting sibling. India, lead us into reverence-within-difference!
Today, Abbey and I are in Shillong, serving the north and the south for our first Living Waters Training in India. Next year, we travel south for our second training in that vast land.
God planted a seed in a woman. It is growing into a source of life for many. Do not despise the seed or the day of small beginnings (Zech. 4:10). India will be a nation where Jesus meets broken humanity and makes men and women whole.
‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will be done. Nothing will be impossible for you’ (Matt. 17:20).
‘Thank You Jesus for what You have put on our hearts for building Your Church. May we trust You with the stirrings of new life within us. Grant us patience and discipline in bringing that life to full term.’
‘Father, we thank You for Jesus who established the Church on a Rock against which hell will not prevail (Matt 16:18). We pray for every Christian leader to build on Her firm foundation of sexual clarity and integrity. Father, unmask the deceiver and divider of Christians and unite us in one Spirit. As weak members of Christ, we ask for truth to guide our pursuit of sexual wholeness, for grace to sustain it, and for spiritual power to transform us. May we reflect the chaste radiance of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16) to a lost and hurting world.’