Originally published Thursday, 02 July 2015.
There are moments in our lives when time stands still and all we hear, see, and feel is the presence of God. We finished singing our last song when the three small girls in red uniforms approached a dear friend of ours, a man fluent in our language and his own. God bless those who translate.
“They would like to sing a song for all of you, now,” he whispered to our team. To the radical teenagers holding instruments, he added, “They would like for you to play while they sing.”
The teens nodded to each other with wide eyes. “We’ll do our best,” spoke Alex as the four of them lifted their instruments from the concrete floor and began to play.
Bravely, the three school girls stood before a group of strangers and peers and sang. They sang words that we would not have recognized if not for the familiar tune. The teens began to play with them and I began to hum along. Music has a universal way of communicating a message between hearts despite language barriers. The band gave one another a knowing smile and continued to play. The song they sang was made popular by Michael W. Smithsome time ago in our country and is currently a favorite in the Artibonite Valley of Haiti, as well. As they sang in Haitian Creole, my heart joined them in worship and I reflected on the truth of “Ancient Words,” by Lynn Deshazo.
Ancient words ever true, changing me and changing you.
We have come with open hearts. Oh, let the ancient words impart.”
The message of this song is timeless and can speak to hearts cross-culturally. It reminds us that the Word of God is timeless. The most beautiful truth here? The Word of God does not change, and yet it should change us.
Our lives should be completely transformed by the words of our Redeemer. He is timeless.
Someone told me once that they believed, “we’d all get a lot more practical” during the end of the world. In other words, he believed that we would focus only on what is essential to survival and wouod deny faith in Jesus. My friend’s words left me heartbroken. I was heartbroken that he could believe such a thing.
I was reminded of his words as I walked the dirt roads of another country: a country where indeed, the people are focused on survival and practicality. Sweet friend, lean in closely. Those people cling to Jesus and His faithfulness as a means to survival, as the only way. With their whole hearts, many of them gather together multiple times in a week to worship God and to read His Holy, unchanging, ancient words. For so many of the Haitian people, God is their refuge and their strength. They focus on Him morning and night. They study God’s word. They pray to Him without ceasing. They live simply and practically. To them, there are two options: the worship of God or (devastatingly sad for many of them) the worship of the enemy. They cling to one or the other. They put their faith in something. Living without any hope at all? I’ve yet to encounter someone who finds that a practical option in Haiti.
Could it be that so many have forgotten the goodness of the Gospel, here where we live because they fill their lives with other false Gods? Aren’t we all clinging to something? It is my experience that those with little are quick to put their hope in Jesus. Those living without the luxuries we consider the norm? Many of them do not hesitate to make Him their daily focus, because it is God who sustains them. Yet, everyone seems to place hope in something. Some rely on the security of a career, others place their trust primarily in financial investments and accounts, others depend fully on their education as a means of survival, while some have faith in others with the wealth to provide for them on some level. It’s true. Our people aren’t as practical as my friends across an ocean, depending on Christ alone. While everyone has placed his or her trust in something, it certainly seems that those with the most desperate circumstances and the fewest resources are the quickest to acknowledge the power of their Creator. What are they clinging to as they pour their lives into survival? They cling to the cross of Jesus. They cling to the ancient words of God, our Heavenly Father. He meets all of their needs and they trust in Him.
God’s word is never changing, but around me, so many seem to be questioning the truth of the Bible.
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope.
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home.
Ancient words ever true,
Changing me and changing you.
We have come with open hearts.
Oh, let the ancient words impart.
Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age,
Came to us through sacrifice.
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.”
Friends, when did our own people default to depending on anything other than Jesus? When did so many stop believing the faithful words of Christ? God, forgive us. So many have placed more hope in their own feelings, abilities, and resources than in the truth of the One who placed the stars in the sky and has the power to calm raging seas. Has priveledge blinded from truth?
Matthew 19:24 says, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
The rich. We are a priveledged people who know luxuries such as clean drinking water, warm showers, air conditioning, and electricity. Globally speaking, we are all very wealthy. For many of us, this is all we have ever known. “We have poverty here,” you say? Yes, we do. Thankfully, even those in poverty have systems in place to assist their survival. I am thankful for this. I’m so thankful that the struggle is drastically different than the struggle to survive across the ocean. After a couple of visits to a third-world country, I know that these systems are true blessings for those who are in need of help. I have sat with those who need assistance where assistance does not exist. I have a friend who cannot work and will never be able. There is no help for him. God, the provider, has placed him in the presence of missionaries who feed him on a daily basis. I have walked through a church door to see my friend, the truly poorest person I know, sitting on the back row praising Jesus. Yet, here? Here it is becoming the norm to discount the scripture–the Ancient Words of God. May we repent of our arrogant foolishness. God never changes. His word never changes. It is us who have changed. Maranatha.
Hebrews 13:8 declares it! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He never changes. Precious friends, please hear me. His word never changes either. It is us. It. Is. Us. May we see the error of this ignorance. May we turn back to Jesus and his never-changing word. May we repent of our arrogant pride. There is still time. God’s arms are open to His prodigal children. He never changed. He never walked away. Run into His arms! Be embraced by His mercy. He alone can sustain us. He alone is truth. He alone can save our souls.
It is time for us to think eternally. This world is not the end. Disbelief and dishonor in God has eternal consequences. May our lives trust in Him as Lord and Savior. May our hearts repent of disbelief. May we turn back to the ancient and still true words of our Heavenly Father. God, have mercy on us.
Holy words long preserved, For our walk in this world. They resound with God’s own heart. Oh, let the ancient words impart.”
May our hearts return to truth, the Truth of the Gospel. May our lives cling to the only good news that can eternally fulfill our needs. Thank you, God for Your Word. Amen.
From my heart to yours, ~Courtney