The excerpt below is from a book that has become very dear to me. It is a book of puritan prayers, titled, The Valley of Vision. Most of my mornings I start by reading over one of these short prayers. These prayers are a daily reminder to me of the depth of my depravity at the same time reminding me of the grandeur of God's glory and goodness. On my best day I am prone to forget these two great truths ... on my worst day I am prone to invert them.
When Stephanie and I made the decision to take our family to Burundi to serve for 9 months, one question I thought I would often be posed with was, "Why are you going?". As it turns out, very few people have actually asked me this question. But I feel like it is an important one to answer, whether people are asking or not. So, although our intention is to primarily use this blog to keep our family and friends updated on what we are doing while in Burundi and to share stories from there, I feel I need to start by trying to answer the question of why we are going.
The truth is that our motives are mixed, and some of these motives are entirely selfish. Stephanie and I both love to travel, we love an adventure, we want our kids to gain a larger worldview. But buried under all these selfish motives, is one motive that we hope is pure, and that really has very little to do with us, and that motive is our faith in a God who would love us enough to pursue us and reconcile us to Himself through the humble and sacrificial servanthood of His Son, Jesus.
“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” - Mark 10:42-45
This is the paradox and the beauty of the Christian faith, that God Himself became meek and lowly to serve us, and to adopt us into His family. That is why we go. We go, because He came to us. We serve, because He first served us.
The Valley of Vision
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.