The last few weeks I received invitations to speak at various churches in the area. Today, I spoke at Samuel’s church, giving a message entitled, “The Power of God is His Heart” (Luke 7:11-17). Samuel is the young man I have discipled for months. This afternoon I created a small video of our visit – it’s not much, but hopefully will provide just a small taste of our visit. Here’s the link:
Last week we visited Church on the Rock in Mfumbira.
On Saturday (March 29th) at Michelle’s Bible study in Masese, she was hit by a small rock while she was teaching. The rock was thrown by some children and hit her in the chest. It wasn’t bad, but she immediately recognized the influence of the enemy and rebuked the evil. After the Bible study a lady asked Michelle to receive Jesus as her Savior. Michelle prayed with her, and recognized what had happened – the resistance and influence of the enemy.
Sadly far greater tragedy happens in Uganda than being hit by a rock. We hear of tragedies regularly here, far more often than we heard of tragedy in our community in the United States. Some of these tragedies I only share generally, avoiding details on this public forum out of respect for the families.
Recently we’ve heard of the death of a father of some children our kids spent time with. This man was killed after returning from work on his bicycle at night. The children have no parents now.
We also learned of the tragic and despicable rape of 6-year old girl by a young adult male. We visited the girl in the hospital and she was full of the Holy Spirit, smiling, singing songs about Jesus and asking to pray for others who were in the hospital.
After a four-day hunt, a large one-ton crocodile was finally caught within walking distance of where we live. The croc was estimated at more than eighty years old and had eaten four people (mostly fishermen) and maimed others. You can see the story here:
One of those maimed by the massive crocodile was a worker for a local missionary friend of ours. After not showing up to work for some time, the maimed man’s neighbor later admitted to killing the maimed man to send his body parts to a local witch doctor. This murder leaves two children without parents now.
Pain, suffering, poverty and oppression are a way of life in Uganda, maybe more so than other countries. But in the midst of affliction, pain and suffering I am reminded of Lamentations 3:32-33 where the Holy Spirit inspires “the weeping prophet” who was watching the brutal collapse and captivity of his nation to write, “Though (the Lord) causes grief, yet He will show compassion, according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly (the Hebrew word there literally means, “from His heart.”)…”
Did you catch that? The real, true God, from His heart is compassionate. If you hear people talk about God’s judgment, they may very well be speaking truth. Because God does judge sin justly, but patiently. Patiently because at His heart is compassion, mercy and love. If we don’t know God’s heart, then we really don’t know God, do we? “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are renewed every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Therefore I have hope in Him! ” (Lam 3:22-24) Knowing God’s mercy and love is not just recognizing a beautiful sunrise in the morning – that’s only knowing the Creator. It’s a good start, but does that save anyone? Do we know God as Savior in the midst of suffering, pain, oppression and poverty? Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
If you don’t know God, Lamentations tells us we can know Him. “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him” (Lam 3:25). Trust Jesus – He’s at the heart of God – compassionate, kind, merciful and full of grace and love. If you have questions, please ask. If you don’t get satisfying answers, pray and keep looking. Personally, I looked for years, and the answers finally came. While I was in the midst of that time, I wondered. Keep your heart open and seek earnestly with a teachable attitude. You will find the real and one, true God. May we know His heart.