Sunday, 12 February 2012

love has a face

We’ve been in Togo for just over a month now and the hospital is in full swing. It’s soooo good to see the collection of hope filled faces on our wards. I always wonder what on earth is going through the minds of people who didn’t even know they would have surgery 2 weeks ago and now find themselves on a floating Hospital with air conditioning that can produce arctic conditions. About ¾ of our Hospital Team is brand new and this remains the biggest challenge to the work we do in my eyes… yet each year more amazing people leave the comforts of their homes and dare to set foot on our Hospital Ship and once again I am in awe of the beautiful hearts I get to share my life with. I love the new life they bring and the new eyes that give fresh sight to the daily miracles that I realise I have come to find so normal.

We’ve had busy weeks orientating new staff, refining our policies and procedures and holding our big Screening day where an estimated 3500 people came for our team to assess whether we could help. We were selecting people to be scheduled for our usual array of Plastics, Maxilla Facial, General and VVF surgeries over the next few months. It was a challenging day but full of richness in the form of great team work and opportunities to meet the humble faces of those who have waited years for a glimpse of hope. Whether our answer was a yes or a no, I pray each one left having experienced a love they may never have experienced before and with a life changed in ways we may never see.

For me it has been a few weeks of feeling slightly overwhelmed at times and I have loved reading ‘Love has a Face’ by Michelle Perry which has drawn me out of myself and reminded me what it’s all about. I could pretty much type out the whole thing and quote it to you because it speaks to me so much. This lady is full of compassion and is about as selfless as you can get. She works in Sudan and sees God do amazing things every day. She believes God is who He says He is – she hasn’t settled for half truths and compromises of who God is based on fear, disappointment or human limitations. She has inspired me. Here’s an excerpt for you:

‘It was the first time I had slowed down long enough to realise that Jesus was watching my busy pace, my overflowing days and my crowded life. He was just watching me and waiting for me to notice that He was not as intent on my schedule as I was. I looked into His eyes and realised that I was getting the loving others part right. I was seeing and stopping for the one in front of me. But I had forgotten that He was the most important one I could ever stop for. His gaze held no condemnation. It held only invitation.

Suddenly I was taken into a vision where I was standing in a vast harvest field. It expanded as far as my eyes could see in every direction. It was lit with faint pre-dawn light. The sun was just beginning to touch the distant horizon.

The picture was so immense that I was overwhelmed. Where would I even begin to harvest that field? How would I start? I looked around me. I saw no tools, no bag, nothing at all to begin gathering this huge harvest.

In this vision Jesus walked up to me in the middle of that field. His face was shining. His eyes were smiling. He came so close to me that all I could see were His beautiful eyes. I could not look away, not even to see the harvest. He took me by the hand, and we began to dance. The field twirled by out of the corner of my eyes, but my gaze was locked with His and He alone was my focus.

‘This is what I want,’ He said. ‘This is what I want. I want you to live a life with your eyes fixed on Me. As we dance together the harvest will come in. It is not about a plan, it is about a dance.’

Was I planning great exploits for Jesus? Or was I dancing with Him, letting Him fill all my vision and become my Everything?

I realised I had been lamenting my lack of resources and the huge task ahead of me. I was fixated on the field when Jesus wanted me to be focused on His face. He did not want me to settle and get by with romantic notions about Him. He wanted my heart, the core of who I am, to surrender being romanced by Him, to be overtaken by his love. He wanted me to be so captivated by His gaze that He would become all I see… all I have to do is find who I am in Love’s eyes. All I have to do is be a little girl in the arms of her Papa, knowing she is loved not for anything she has done or achieved but simply because He has loved her. I can stand on His feet and let Him lead, knowing that as we dance together, the harvest will come in.’

I want to be that little girl standing on her Papa’s feet. I’m not OK with letting God be as small as I have made Him. I’m so tired of that. I’m so hungry to see God be all He says He is, to break into people’s lives – for people to get angry at the brokenness and suffering and disease we see. Is this Heaven on Earth? No? Well that’s how He taught us to pray and I am not settling for anything less. May Heaven come to Earth in my life – in your life and in the lives of every beautiful person we get to meet during these next four months in Togo. I look forward to testimonies of people being free to be all they were created to be with nothing holding them back. Bring it on!

Love you all so much, KWW xx