Today is Day #33 for me to be in Santiago, Chile.
Yes, as I mentioned two weeks ago, I’m thinking in Spanish, but that doesn’t mean I understand everything that’s being said and felt here.
My ears strain to listen well.
My brain is tired at the end of the day.
I find it’s a lot easier to ignore conversations taking place in a language not your own.
But how loving is that? I’m glad God didn’t take the easy route of ignoring.
One of my favorite verses in the whole Bible is Hebrews 4:15.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (NIV)
Jesus is not unable to empathize. That means He’s very able to empathize.
Just last month, we celebrated Jesus, the Son of God, coming to be with us. Jesus, our great high priest, was not just able to empathize—He was willing to empathize.
And I want to be like Jesus.
There’s a poor side to Santiago, Chile, and there’s a rich side. We’re here to visit my in-laws on the poor side where my husband grew up. This week I got a little taste of what it’s like to go to the emergency room when you live on the poor side of the tracks.
My 78 year-old father-in-law became confused and disoriented, and his skin was cold and clammy. We took him to the doctor, whose only diagnosis was to get to the emergency room right away, suspecting he might be having a stroke.
A twenty-minute made-for-the-movies race car ride across town landed us at the poor side’s “new” hospital’s emergency room. Thankfully, since my mother-in-law volunteers at the hospital, her connections were able to get my father-in-law right in.
And for the next five hours, while his body received intravenous therapy, my soul received it’s own “therapy” in the crowded waiting room.
Today is day #20 of the long-awaited trip to visit family and friends in Santiago, Chile. I’ve probably put on my waist at least two inches of the world’s best bread and butter so far. Not bad—one inch per ten days!
But that’s not the “transformation” I want to talk about today.
“Let’s name her Karen, but spell it, C-a-r-y-n! That sounds like a good idea!”
It must be the curse of the “C” and the “Y” in my name that gives me this uncontrollable urge to “see why” about everything.
Silly things like:
Why do people still say, “Bless you,” when you sneeze?
Why are there silent letters in the English language?
Why do drivers back IN to tight parking spots when it’s easier to back OUT of them?
To deeper things like:
Why do we humans do, say, and feel the things we do?
Why am I here?
Really, I think we all long to “see why,” no matter how our name is spelled. Why AM I here? What is my purpose? Why did God create me and put certain talents within me? What does He want me to do for Him on this earth? What does He want me to do for Him TODAY? Why am I here?
Over the years, I’ve heard non-believers say, “If I could just SEE Jesus, then I would believe in Him.” I heard it again this week.
There have been many times since I gave my heart and life to Jesus in which I’ve also thought, “Oh Jesus, I wish I could just see You right now.” But this week, I’m both reminded and convinced that there’s something even better than seeing Jesus, and that is (drumroll, please):
Being seen by Jesus.
My mind goes back to a silly story from my freshman year in high school. At that time, I had my “perfect life” all planned out. I was going to break all kinds of basketball scoring records in high school, receive a full-ride basketball scholarship to UCLA, and break more records there. Upon graduation, I would be the first woman ever to be invited to play (and beat) the guys in the NBA. I would sign a multi million-dollar contract to be in the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers.
To top off this oh-so-realistic-in-my-mind plan, the signing of my Lakers contract would happen a week after I got back from my honeymoon with my true love, hero, and Lakers all-star, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We would play that first season together, and then he—being 19 years older than me—would retire and cheer me on from the stands for the next 10 years.
All I had to do was let him know of the plan.
There’s nothing like an honest kid to make you feel old. I have a few honest kids in my life. They’re my piano students. We’ve been pulling out the Christmas tunes the past few weeks. This week I asked several of them, “Hey, how about this one? Have you heard the song, “Joy to the World?”
“Ok, well, Jingle Bell Rock it is then.”
About once or twice a year, I somehow allow myself to be suckered into buying something I later regret. The latest regret came this week, just 15 days after I went online and purchased for the first time ever a large container of magical protein powder. It’s all organic. It’s promo spiel assured me that my husband and I would have 0% body fat after just a week of making meals with this miraculous mix.
If I wanted to maintain the 0% body fat after that first week, all I had to do was to click the “Ship ’n Save” button, and the Protein Powder Fairy would drop a new supply on my doorstep each month.
Oooooo, yes! Click!
If I wanted my tongue to really throw a party, with one simple click I could add two other flavors for free, which I could cancel in the 14-day trial period, and be under no obligation to order again.
More flavors? SURE! Click!
Thanksgiving is next week, and I’m still wrestling with this whole topic of giving. Not so much with the topic of “Thanks” giving. For sure I was horrible at giving thanks in my twenties, but I hope I’ve grown a bit in the gratitude department over the years.
Mostly, I’m grappling with “Fill-in-the-Blanks” giving. You could fill in the blanks with just about anything. Giving of _____ (time, money, possessions, control, empathy, encouragement, etc…).
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 (NIV)
Really, Paul? In any and every situation? How can you live “in want” and still be content? Are you just trying to sound extra spiritual? Are you in denial?
I love a good prank, don’t you? I learned to love a good prank from childhood, as my mom is the queen of all pranksters. Just ask our pastor about the tasty sponge cake she made (with all-natural ingredients) for his family. 🙂
She is the one you would least expect to play a trick on you, as she is trustworthy, kind, and would never tell a lie – except for the time she emptied the tube of Crest toothpaste and refilled it with Colgate toothpaste to prove to my dad he would never know the difference.
And she was right.
But even more than I can trust my mom, I can completely trust God’s word. I can fully trust what Jesus says. Always. But I have to confess, there have been plenty of times when I have been reading His word, I’ve thought, “You’re joking, right? This is a prank, right? Wait a minute. Maybe I didn’t understand this. Let me read it again.”