I am desperate for Jesus.
The word “desperate” means to suffer from extreme need. It is the point one reaches when he or she has little or no hope left. It is the realization that your survival and success is completely dependent upon something or someone else. It wasn’t until I left the western world and stepped into Romania, that I truly began to understand my own and the world’s desperation. Yet desperation leads to humility and humility to grace…and grace will always lead to Jesus.
Before coming to Europe, I didn’t even know the Roma (the politically correct term for Gypsies) still existed. Unfortunately, most of the world wishes they didn’t. Because of the less-then-sterling reputation they have gained for frequently resorting to beggary and thievery, the Roma have been branded as untrustworthy; they are often treated with great contempt. For centuries, poverty has ruled their lives like a cruel dictator. Poverty has forced the youth to abandon their education, with many of them entering into early marriages. It robs individuals of their potential, and opens the door for depression, sickness, disease, and suicide.
As I was confronted with the depth and complexity of the Roma’s social, physical, and spiritual needs I began to realize my own lack and inability to meet that need. My desperation for a solution helped me see that the overthrowing of their current situation will require nothing short of the miraculous. It will only occur when the life and power of Jesus reaches into every corner of their world.
I’ll admit that at first I had my doubts that holistic change for such a community was possible. However, it only took remembering who He is (and who He has called us to be) for those same doubts to completely and utterly dissipate.
The apostle John describes Jesus as being so intensely beautiful and majestic that the angels can’t stop crying “holy” as they see Him. Jesus’ eyes are like flames of fire, and His countenance is like the brilliant, shining sun. He rides upon the wings of the wind and the mountains tremble as heaven touches earth. He unashamedly carries a sword to execute justice and bring about peace. He is the Creator of Life and the Conqueror of Death. Principalities and powers release their captives in submission to His Lordship. His voice is like the sound of many waters; it rushes to divide the flames of fire. He is Captain over armies of angels, and King of All. He is fierce, yet He is love.
In Psalm 12:5 this same Jesus says, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise…I will set Him in the safety for which he yearns.” In Romania, as I held a fatherless, little girl in my arms I felt the presence of God begin to pulsate through my being. I felt the thunder of His heartbeat completely overtake and drown out my own. The intensity of His love for her combined with the outrage over the injustice of her situation, made my heart feel as if it would explode. It was terrifyingly wonderful. I felt God arising.
It doesn’t take watching Animal Planet or reading National Geographic to know what a lion or bear will do when their cubs are threatened. They will protect their young at all costs and they will do it with an almost frightening ferocity. With that same heart of zeal, God arises to defend the poor, the oppressed, and the fatherless.
Perhaps you are wondering then, if this is true, then why are the Roma still living in such awful conditions? Why is there suffering and evil in the world today? I believe God is asking you and me those same questions. He does not ask to condemn us, but to commission us. After all, He has declared us to be His Bride and His Body—His heart and His hands—reaching out to the suffering and lost. Jesus is our example of what a life surrendered to the Father can look like. Just as His obedience purchased the salvation for all, our obedience and surrender to Him can have a world-changing impact.
I am merely beginning to learn what a life surrendered looks like. Already there have been times where it has been messy, difficult, and I’ve tripped along the way. Yet His grace is always there to pick me up and keep me going. It is a glorious adventure—one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I invite you to take part in His adventure, and to see God do the miraculous through you.