Friday, February 10, 2012

Praying for Afghanistan: A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - February 10 (Day 41)

Today, I am so pleased to have a guest blogger, a dear friend of mine who can tell you much more about Afghanistan that I or a book ever could - after all, she lived there for 10 years and continues to have deep relationships with people there. Please read and hear her heart for this country - I think you'll catch a glimpse of God's heart as well, for the Afghans and for His servants. My prayer follows her words.
Years, and a blur of events that make my stomach turn, have passed since being forced to return back to America after almost a decade in Afghanistan, because of treatment for a newly diagnosed cancer.   4 years later, I am in remission and could not be more grateful for this second chance at life I've been given.  Although this last statement resonates to the very depth's of my being, it does not take away a pervasive feeling of a sort of loss.  As hard as I try, I can't seem to fit in here.  My experiences over the last 15 years, in addition to joining the millions of cancer patients, has left me feeling as if I am now wandering in the desert in a land once known, now foreign.  This place, America, doesn't feel like my home anymore. 

Life here in America is not what it once was almost 15 years ago when I first went overseas.  I have found myself in a the land of 'Between'.   Between what was(Afghanistan) and what one day will be (Heaven).  Through days, weeks and years, I have come to accept that one of the reasons why I am back in America.  In His GOODNESS, I have been brought to a place of rest and new life;  water is available, power is on 24 hours a day and my health is no longer being taxed by a slew of chemicals being thrown into the grounds eventually landing in my well.  Here, I am more desperate for God because this place is not what it once was; the familiar.  Here, in the land between, is where I am forced to reach out to God again.  My time in Afghanistan was filled with miracle upon miracle day after day, year upon year.  After many seasons there, I had become a bit complacent, perhaps.  Why He chose to protect me from kidnappings, executions, bombings and then cancer to later re-learn to reach out in desperation is beyond my understanding but it does say that God is determined for me to reflect Him in every way.  A life of redundancy, even Holy, doesn't necessarily reflect Him.  
He is also teaching me through a miracle I never thought I would see;  my identical twin's new baby twin daughters (a mouthful of more miracle's).  Somehow through seeing them interact with their world anew has reminded me that God is ever teaching my weathered soul that life with Him is always changing, never stagnant.  He is good and perfect in all His ways even when some of those ways often remain a mystery.  I am seeing anew that it doesn't matter where I serve Him, but that I am being radically obedient and listening intentionally to Jesus wherever that is.  

How can you pray for God's ways in Afghanistan;  pray for those that live and work there.  Pray for their souls to be easily moved by His Spirit minute by minute.  If these things are taking place then the obvious next thing will happen;  radiant spirits, against a drop back of darkness, to be the catalysts for change in Afghans lives that no one could ever predict.  And pray that the seeds that have already been planted in fertile hearts will grow.

In the midst of an ever-changing world, these words from a dear friend in Afghanistan have stayed with me:
O God...
Fortify me
For the unexpected
And the unexplained.
Amid the things that change
Keep clear and dear
To me
The things that remain.
Give me faith
To face the future
In the knowledge
That nothing can separate me
From Your love.
-John M. Dreshcer

May the things that always remain be kept clear and dear to our hearts wherever we find our home.
My prayer for today: Oh Lord, my heart is burdened so for Afghanistan - and also so eager because I know how much You have been at work there. I think of the stories of Afghan believers I've heard - of their faithfulness and their love and their practical demonstrations of Your love for others. Oh Lord, guide them. Keep them close to You, and give them incredible wisdom as they move forward in faith against the gates of hell that must seem oh so close to home. We pray Lord that You will raise up churches - in homes or in buildings - anyplace where believers can gather and fellowship with others Lord. So many are isolated. Equip them to fight the good fight together. Provide Scripture in all the main languages of Afghanistan and provide other Christian resources to help equip the leaders. Lord we recall that Paul himself asked for deliverance from evil and perverse men. Please deliver the Afghan believers, so that they can more effectively and consistently reach their country for You. Oh Lord, be a strong tower throughout Afghanistan. Be the stronghold and help to the believers there. Be magnified in the Afghan church.Help them know that nothing can separate them from Your love. In Jesus' name, amen.

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