A lasting change begins with the way we think
IT ALL STARTED WHEN...
On my third trip to Uganda, I visited a children’s home. It wasn’t quite what I had imagined. Kids from as young as a day old, abandoned by their next of kin because of severe illness and food shortage, were brought there to live or die. Those who survived were either reunited with their family or left in the care of the home.
There was a 19 month old girl that caught my eye. Suffering from malnutrition, heart problems and HIV, her mother died just a few months prior. Forsaken by her clan, she was left on the doorsteps. She was just skin and bones. I gestured for her to come to me. With the little strength she had left, she dragged herself towards me. When I carried and held her, it rattled me as I recognized that this child was dying. I was wrecked. The more we locked eyes, the tighter her grip was on me and the more helpless I felt. It stripped me of everything I thought I knew. There was absolutely nothing I could give her. What she needed was not another program, crusade, church, theology or revival. Then, God disclosed what I could not see. All she ever wanted was to be securely embraced by a father in his arms. That he would look her in the eyes and she would know that she was exceedingly loved. In my anguish I cried out “Where is The Church in response to this?”, “Where are the Local Churches who see this first hand?”. They had revivals, crusades, twenty-four hour prayers, fourteen days of fasting, buildings, titles and money but yet had very little impact on the people who were marginalized. After feeling despondent, God opened my mind. I saw that the local churches could not respond. They had no idea how to because many were orphaned themselves. They didn’t know what love was though they encountered God’s power. Two months after, this little girl went to the arms of the Father. If this girl had any purpose or destiny here on earth in her short life, it was for me.
This began my journey on discovering the gift of relationship - that authentic relationships transform communities. A critical evidence of transformation is our relationship with God and with one another. The flow of the Kingdom begins with God and me. The outworking of that is manifested in our relationships. Yet so often in our journey, we see a chasm between the two. We can encounter God supernaturally like the Israelites in the desert and yet not change the way we think about God, ourselves and others. We continue to operate out of our habitual patterns reinforced by culture, upbringing, religion, generations and life’s experiences. Instead of advancing the kingdom in and through us, revealing His nature through relationships, we repeat cycles that have been established as acceptable and even “godly”.
Relationship is a preeminent revelation of the Kingdom. Through it we have influence to create environments and cultures. The heart of the Father is for husbands and wives, male and female, parents and children, leaders and followers, generations and multicultural communities to walk together as one. Purposed to release each other into the maturity and fullness of what they have been created to be. This is a mandate that has yet to be completely manifested but we are living in the days of it.