Life, Faith & Running
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. ~James 1:27
There is an image burned in my brain. An image I hope I never let go of. God has this way of meeting us in the most unlikely places, and at the most unusual times. I wonder if he does this so that we can do nothing but attribute the experience to him and his sovereignty.
I don’t know what you know about North Korea. The media has its story to tell about this desolate country. History books have their story to tell about this communist, dictator-lead country. Satellites show the literal darkness that covers this little hermit country. But North Korea to me represents a place where I was met with a God who had a message for my heart. Why there? Why then? Why in such a way? I have no concrete answers, but I do have some hypotheses.
In the Spring of 2011 my friend Abbey came to visit me in Korea. One of the many great things about having a visitor when living in a foreign country and busy with your work there is that it slows you down and gets you out of your local context and into some the touristy things other people do who come to visit the country. So, since I wanted to show her some cool things, my friend Christie and I organized to take Abbey on a trip up to the DMZ—Demilitarize Zone.
I thought I was simply heading on a tour with my friend to a mysterious place where an imaginary boarder-line separates a country that was once unified: An imaginary boarder-line that separates families. A boarder-line that set seemingly permanent separation between people whose blood cells held matching DNA—whose tongues spoke the same langue. When the 38th parallel line was set, wherever one was on that day, they would remain. Spouses were permanently separated, siblings were sentenced to a life of separation, children were left without a father or mother, patriarchs and matriarchs were stripped of generational ties.
During a part of our tour of the DMZ we were shown footage of the Korean war. As we watched the images of the children caught in the cross-fire ripped my heart apart. And in that little tourist-filled theater I heard God say, “this is an image of every orphan: Every orphan is in a war-zone, crying out for someone to come and bring them to safety. They are looking around only to see the world crashing around them.” The images burned in my brain. I didn’t understand what God was doing with me. But once I understood the face of the orphan, my service to the rich changed too. That was a start.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: