Africa, land of savannas.
It conjures up a myriad of connotations. Poverty, grasslands, desert, the pyramids. Africa, in the mind of the west.
I was wrong when I boarded a plane for Nairobi last July, blinded, as usual, by my pride.
Africa, I thought, was where Christians went who wanted other people to know they were good Christians. And I, I thought, knew better, knew Europe lay in a spiritual depravity that made Africa look lavishly wealthy. I was only going because He had told me, and I didn't know what He was hiding beneath the blazing red of African dirt, but neither did I hope.
The expectant patience that characterizes our faith was nowhere to be found in me.
How else do I say it but that the Lord blew up my heart?
Africa is rich in spirit, rich in joy. And it's me who was too poor in vision to know what lay before me until it had ripped the cataracts out.
Africa, it seizes you, and it never lets you go. And my stone heart, smashed to smithereens in Kenya, now beats the red of the dirt I walked on.
If we wait to serve Jesus until we think we are good enough, we will never serve. If we go, despite our imperfections, we will find the posturing of our hearts to serve was the Lord working out the transformation from filth to holiness in us.
Mountains fascinate me. They are a symbol of a home I've never known yet feel inextricably connected. And I found mountains in Kenya, and I was a mountain in Kenya, because sometimes when the Lord is faithful to move mountains, the mountain is you, and He's faithful to move it.
He's faithful to posture us in a way that will force us to look outside of ourselves. I like to think of it as a spiritual bending out of shape. It causes me no end of anxiety until I remember it's in my weakness that His strength is shown most gloriously.
I'm thankful for that, even when it hurts, because He never tears off dragon scales but out of love for us.
There's a lion in my heart now, my freshly beating heart, and He is on the move.