In 2008 we moved from Georgia to Virginia. I remember a friend of mine from Georgia emailing me and telling me about a blog I must start reading. She described a young girl who left everything straight from high school to become a missionary in Uganda.
Over the years I continued hearing about this story and this person. She published a book, and I continued to hear about it. Then this year my sister and niece fell in love with the book and a friend’s daughter left to serve with Katie’s team in Africa. It was time I read this book. Kisses from Katie.
It’s one of those that God uses to dig down into the deep spaces. I can’t stop thinking about it. The last book that affected me this much was David Platt’s Radical. I see a theme here.
This from the Foreword, “When the child had been bathed to her aunt’s satisfaction, Katie wrapped her in a towel and carried her to a nearby bed. She knelt in front of her and began to remove jiggers from her feet. Jigger was not a word I’d heard before. In Uganda, jiggers are everywhere and they cause much trouble. They are small insects that burrow painlessly into a person’s skin and create a tiny egg sac, leaving a little bump that appears as inflammation. While having jiggers doesn’t hurt until they have practically infested an area of the body, having them removed can be excruciating. But the child didn’t wince, scream, or jerk in any way as Katie removed the jiggers and cut away dead skin around them. She simply sat silently as a few tiny tears made their way slowly down her face.”
God is using this book to burrow into me like jiggers. As I become inflamed with this message, it hurts. Yet throughout this book the theme that stands out over every story she shares is love. LOVE. Katie, with extreme love, removed those jiggers one by one from that child. The love Katie shared, which was a manifestation of God’s love, is what truly heals. The jiggers that are making a home into my heart, love will heal those too. Sometimes, we have to become inflamed before love begins to heal.
From the introduction, “Slowly but surely I began to realize the truth: I had loved and admired and worshiped Jesus without doing what He said. This recognition didn’t happen overnight; in fact I believe it was happening in my heart long before I even knew it.”…..”So I quit my life.”
“People often ask if I think my life is dangerous, if I am afraid. I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable.”
Yes! I get this. My heart cries out when I read this. I wrote for 30 days on this in 2013. Yet, what have I done about it?
More from the introduction, “I am surrounded by things that can destroy the body. I interact almost daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can help them. I live in a country with one of the world’s longest-running wars taking place just a few hours away. Uncertainty is everywhere. But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.”
Yes, me too. Yet I’m still very comfortable in the American life. This books challenges me in new ways. The most surprising is that this book is revealing something far greater than what I realized when I opened the first page. I expected the entire book would be a beautiful story that would inspire the reader to reach out and stretch our limits in serving the poor. And while it does, it does something far more radical than that.
The word that whispers in my soul with every page I turn is this: Love. It’s love.
Katie Davis is very clear about one thing. She isn’t a hero. She isn’t brave and courageous. She isn’t an extraordinary human being. She is no different than you or me. Except she is different in my opinion. She has a love for Jesus that is worth giving her entire life to share. She has experienced His love to a point she can’t contain it. She must give that love back out. It’s too big to keep inside. She couldn’t possibly keep it inside. That’s the kind of love I want for my King.
When Katie got to Uganda, she had no idea she would be where she is today with her ministry. She didn’t go with a strategic plan for establishing a ministry. She went with a plan to love.
What if every moment of my day here in America looked like Katie’s days in Uganda? What if my entire strategic plan could be summed up in one word – love?
Well, it would change everything in my world. And if we all did that, it would change the world.
Katie isn’t changing the world because God has made her super awesome and amazing. Katie is changing the world because she has a love for God that couldn’t be physically contained within her. She let it flow into each person she crossed paths with, and along the way she obeyed God. She loved, she obeyed.
Out of everything I’m reading in this book, I can’t help but put it down each night and say, “God, let me love you like that.”
Loving God more is a process. It’s not an overnight snap of the fingers. It comes from spending time with Him, from seeing Him repeatedly show up at unexpected moments, from calling out His name in distress and realizing He was right there all along, from whispering His name through tears and feeling His hands wipe the tears, from praising Him throughout the day, from laughing so hard your side hurts when He allowed His sense of humor to shine at just the time you needed to laugh the most.
I started the process of loving God more when I started looking for Him harder. He’s not hard to see, except yes He is if you live in affluent America. He is kind of hard to see because we can at times pat ourselves on the back for working hard and smart and creating a super comfortable life. So, yeah, He can be hard to see.
When we intentionally move through the day looking for Him, we are blown away. He’s all over our day. All over our lives. Over the last few months, I’ve felt God doing something in my heart that I’m not sure what it is. I still don’t really know. All I know is that each day, I find my love for Him becoming more passionate. Then I look back at my prayer journals and see the years of prayers that said, “God make me love you more than I love anything else in this entire world. Make me love you so passionately, I feel I might burst.”
Do you want to change the world? I do. Want to pray a prayer we know God will say yes to? Let’s pray He lights a fire in our hearts for Him that grows bigger, brighter, and bolder everyday.
If the most important command is to love Him and the second is to love our neighbor, then let’s pray to love Him more. Only when we love Him more can we love our neighbors. Only because Katie loved the Lord could she love on the least of these in Africa.
And many of us can’t go across the ocean to serve the least of these, but God’s world is mighty small and His love is mighty big. What I’m learning from this book is that loving Him is the first step to changing the world.
I want to do more, love more, serve more. We sponsor a child, we’ve hosted orphans in our home, we give generously, but none of that is uncomfortable. None of that is hard. In fact, it can be quite easy.
Loving the world can seem hard, but I think it’s because we start backwards. We try to love the world before we are madly in love with the Creator of the world. Maybe if we loved our Father more than the world, then loving on the world wouldn’t be so hard.
It would be quite easy. Then doing what is uncomfortable wouldn’t be so difficult. It would seem natural. Maybe that is how we were created to live.
Love really can start a fire. One that can’t be put out.
Lord, light a fire in my heart for you. Let the world not dampen the flames. Burn so that it can’t be physically contained any longer.
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