Sometimes, though, I am so grieved over something I see that I must give in to the sadness or I wouldn't be able to function. I'd be useless.
Yesterday was like that. A precious man who has served the body of JESUS in Guinea for a long time thought he was finally on the verge of a good job, a priceless thing in this land. Only, it didn't work out that way. Not only did the job prospect fail, but if failed because they discovered something about him, that even he didn't know. He is HIV positive. The people he lives with, who love him so dearly said "People here lose all hope when they get that news."
I can't get that out of my head: They lose all hope. Lately, he has had a lot of hope and I had hope for him. Now, I cannot think of that small, sweet man without tears stinging my eyes.
I know that Africa isn't the only place where people get bad news.
The poor do not have a monopoly on heartbreak....and neither do the rich have a monopoly on hope. We all get some of both.
This week, Guinea has graciously shown me some of the other side too...
A young Guinean born to one of the many wives of a kind Muslim man shared with me how he came to CHRIST along with every one of his brothers and sisters. Amazingly, his father has supported their path and even encouraged them in it. Recently, his uncle asked him why he always hears him pray in the name of JESUS.
A young mother from Ghana spent an afternoon sharing with me how she had begun working as a very young child. I was on the edge of my seat as she ventured into memories of abandonment and abuse. Now, she and her husband have given their own children a safe, happy and loving home. Although, she lamented that she had never been able to go to school, I knew that nothing she would have learned in a classroom could have molded a more amazing woman than the one who sat before me.
An old African man gave me an envelope about 10 minutes after we met. Inside was the resume of a dreamer. He wanted me to have it just in case he makes it to America one day. He felt I would need it in case I wanted to recommend him for a job when he got there.
I'll never get rid of that envelope.
Yesterday, I sat outside visiting with an older woman from Holland. She was about to fly out of the country. She was kind and simple. Nothing about her would cause anyone to look at her twice. I almost overlooked her. Thankfully, I stopped talking and began listening to her and when I did I learned that she had either supervised or worked on a team that has put over 200 different African languages into written form. She is single, had no children and said she has little family to speak of. Yet, the entire continent of Africa is different because of her.
These are people of hope.
Although my heart grieves over cruel disappointments and broken dreams, I realize that hope is not so fickle a thing as we think. You see, true hope cannot ever really be lost. True hope, the kind found in CHRIST is not based on what I wish would happen; it's based on fact, on concrete reality. And HE even gave me proof---HIS very presence in me reminding me of what is to come. That's my hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because GOD has poured out HIS love into our hearts by the HOLY SPIRIT, whom HE has given us. Romans 5:5