God, make my feet beautiful

Before we came here, I thought the reason our training was two years was to teach us the ins and outs of phonetics, grammar and linguistics; how to learn an undocumented language from indigenous people; how to translate and all that jazz. One year in, and I’ve learned that’s the easy part, relatively speaking, and that’s not why we’re here for two years. We’re here for other things.

We’ve spent hours upon hours learning about the nature of animistic religion, and I’ve learned a million new things about the complexity of making disciples in other cultures.

We’ve read and talked about the intricacies of various religions, and practiced thinking through “how would you combat this minute detail to the people powerfully enough to defeat it?” As we hear about all these new gods during class I keep thinking, whoa. This is totally opposite of what God really is like!

If they only knew.

And it never once has been a thing of oh, yeah it’d be nice if God is who you think he is, but he’s actually like this. It has always, ALWAYS been, oh, if you only knew! he is so, SO much better than you believe him to be!

How much we take it for granted that the God who created this world is good. He could have been evil and unfair, and we wouldn’t have been able to do a thing about it.

The following examples are oversimplifications, but they’re common themes in many belief systems –

Tribal societies constantly try to commune with ancestors to help them during times of grief. The people find oneness with them because their ancestors were there once and can understand what the living are going through. Oh, but Jesus, that’s why you came to earth and clothed yourself in flesh! Because you know what it’s like; because when we pray to you, you know what we’re going through. You get it. You’ve been here. We have camaraderie with you.

But who will tell them?

Tribal societies all have a creator God, but he is distant, uninvolved and uncaring. God, you wept for us; you sent your only Son to buy us back. You banished us in paradise, but you spent the entirety of Genesis – Revelation pursuing us. You love us incomprehensibly.

But who will tell them?

Tribal societies believe that if you bother the creator god with anything that’s not dire or urgent, you’ll invoke his wrath and he’ll kill you. God, you want to know our smallest cares and our deepest desires; you never get tired of hearing our voices. You long for us to talk to you.

But who will tell them?

Tribal societies teach that women or other marginalized groups are born with an evil spirit. But we are created in the image of God himself. We have honor and worth and dignity. We are beautiful and prized and worth more than our ability to bear children. We have inherent value.

But who will tell them?

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

God, make my feet beautiful because right now they’re calloused and ugly.

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