Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Better Than Life

My friend recently let me borrow a book called "In the Arena," a biography about a woman named Isobel Kuhn who went to China in the 1920's to tell the Lisu people about the love of God. I've been pouring over this book and loving the story- and thinking about China a lot- because also recently, God gave me a friend in China that I've been sharing with about God's goodness.

On the first night of a conference I recently attended, they gave away a book to the person who came from the furthest away. A white haired lady with a cane walked up to the front and said "I'm from China!" (needless to say, she got the book :) I remember hoping that I'd get to meet and talk with her, but it was a 1600 person conference, so I pretty much didn't count on it. Then on the last morning I went to my usual back row seat and there she was, about to sit down. In my typical overly-caffeinated fashion, I walked up and said "are you Miriam? I want to meet you" and then continued blabbering. I got to sit next to her for the worship service and I was just overwhelmed.

God, the timeless God, loved China in the 20's through people like Isobel Kuhn and He still loves China now through people like Miriam. And this God is so good, so global, and His Gospel so worthy, that an old woman who could very well justify retiring and just quitting at life is still giving herself to the poor, to the lost, to the nations. Psalm 63 says "Your love is better than life". For Miriam, sharing God's love is certainly better than comfort, safety, or even relief from the pain of old age (which we in America so readily expect.) It's "no sacrifice!" In the worship service, we were singing a song about the forgiveness of Christ-

"this the power of the Cross
Christ became sin for us
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the Cross"

I caught a glance at Miriam next to me and saw tears shimmering down her wrinkled face, still smiling. The power of the Cross doesn't fade with time. The Gospel is not just a box to be checked in church one morning. It's the power of God, Love Incarnate, who came to dwell among us; the Perfect One who came near to rescue those who had rebelled and hurt themselves in the process. It's about the unfailing and unending Love that continues to pursue us, protect us, and change us. The power of the Cross is still at work in my life today, tomorrow, and until I leave this earth permanently.

I was so thankful for the example, live and in person, of Miriam- and countless others who have known this God and who have seen it as "no sacrifice" to let go of safety, a comfortable bed, a retirement, or even their own lives in order to share this Love with people who wouldn't hear of it otherwise. "Your love, O Lord, is better than life!"

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