Luke 24:13-32
This is Jesus heartburn(I have to credit Dallas Willard for this term!)...31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Imagination and Faith

I am back in Sierra Leone. It was quick trip home and the days just flew by and suddenly it was time to get back on a plane and come back again. I have to admit that this time around it was much harder to say "see you soon" to everyone that I love and miss so much. Being home made me realize several things including that even though I am so busy here that I don't notice it, I'm lonely. I knew before I left that I was feeling that loneliness creep in but I didn't realize the extent until I was back in a place, surrounded by friends and family, where I could have long, deep, meaningful conversations with people who know and understand me. I realized how much I had taken for granted in having those special friendships and relationships and how much I need to cultivate those here, even if I am only here a short time. 2 years once seemed like a very short time, now it is starting to feel like forever! I also realized AGAIN, that God has called me to work with children…the vulnerable, the mistreated, the forgotten and abused…and it doesn't matter where they are or where I am, I can be Jesus to them. For right now, my work is with these precious orphans in Sierra Leone and coming back to them has renewed my desire to see them grow and flourish here.

Tonight was another step in the journey of my faith as God continues to confirm things in me. I went to the monthly international worship service and the speaker's words were just for me. She talked about faith and imagination. She used the words of Jesus in Luke 17:5-6 The apostles came up and said to the Master, "Give us more faith." But the Master said, "You don't need more faith. There is no 'more' or 'less' in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it would do it.

I was struck by the thought that it's not about how much faith we have…I always am asking for more…or how much you believe; it is about allowing God to work in us and open our imaginations. No one would think to ask God to move a tree; that takes imagination. Humans imagine ways to torture and hurt each other; God imagines a place where the lion lays down with the lamb. The world imagines that there is no hope in poverty; God imagines a world without poverty—and world where there is ALWAYS hope regardless of how much you have or don't have—a world where the amount of money or education or "success" you have does not matter; what matters is are you loved and known by God.

My prayers recently have often been similar to the disciples request…Give me more faith…but tonight I heard the Spirit speaking in me…you have enough faith, it's not about more or less. Now it's time to begin to imagine with God what it might look like to live and move and minister as if His will in heaven could truly be done on earth.

Tonight I'm back in Sierra Leone…with crappy internet access, cold showers, bugs, no electricity, rain, jetlag…have I complained enough yet?...and I know that what I need is not more faith, not more knowledge or wisdom or whatever else, it's just to rest in the Lord, knowing that he will reveal and equip and use me EVEN when I'm crabby!


  1. Amen, Cari! Hmm, I seem to be learning something similar. Thanks for the reminder, for sharing your heart. Prayers for you today.

  2. Wow...powerful post Cari! I literally have goosebumps and am crying being convicted here! And...thank you! From the bottom of our hearts, Doug and I thank you, and thank our amazing God for giving you the faith to be there right now with those children and caregivers and anyone else who might need to see an amazing Christian woman working for our great and mighty SAVIOR! I don't know you but I love you Cari!!! Jen

  3. Cari-Thanks so much for sharing your heart, and I second the comments already made! After emotionally "recovering" from my trip to SL in May, I have realized some of these same things. Even though I know we've been called to Africa in some way or form - we are here now. We may always be here, and even though serving orphans in Africa is such a blessing and a much needed task (one that we will continue whole-heartedly) sure doesn't mean that I shouldn't take note of the hurting, helpless children that are here all around me and be Jesus to them. They are hurting in a different way, possibly, but they are still in need and I need to be more diligent about meeting those needs. I don't think Jesus, if he were here, would be praying and hurting for children across the globe without reaching out to the ones within His reach. Thanks for the reminder! I needed it!!! So glad you were able to get a much-needed rest and enjoy being home with family!! I'm with Jen - I don't know you, but I love you and I can't thank you enough for helping take care of "my" (and all the) kids at The Covering! Thanks so much for ALL you do!!! ((HUGS)) Jodi

  4. God is doing amazing things in Africa and you are doing a great job! THanks so much for sharing honestly your heart that is lonely sometimes there. God will provide a special friend for you there so that is my new prayer for you. A warm shower would be great too! Thanks so so much for loving on these kids!
    Love Heidi

  5. Cari-I loved going to the international service with you -- thanks for having me. It is funny, I also thought that message of faith was for ME! That verse, and the verse about faith the size of a mustard seed keeps coming back to me often lately. I couldn't believe I was hearing it in SL. Miss you and the children much. Praying for you and the many beautiful children at the Covering.

  6. Cari - yours honest and vulnerable words are a sign of strength. Thank you for sharing that post. I will be there in January with a travel group from Nashville. Can't wait to meet you and the children. Praying for you all!!!!