Friday, March 31, 2006

Glimpses Into The Spanish Heart

This article was written by my wife and some observations that she made during the first two months of ministry in Jerez.

This last month I’ve done a lot of observing. Watching how to properly greet a neighbor or a friend. Watching how traffic flows so I don’t drive up any narrow one way streets in the wrong direction! Watching for the labels that differentiate whole, clean chicken from whole chickens that include the head and neck attached with a few feathers thrown in for good meaure! But more than anything else I’ve been watching the Spanish people. Two specific observations have touched my heart in a profound way.

I first noticed a middle aged woman as we were walking to the store to buy some groceries. She was sitting in front of a shrine to the local patron saint. She sat very still, weeping quietly, praying to an image that had no way of listening to her requests. Crying out for hope with no one to give it. Carrying a heavy burden with no one to help her with her load, her faith placed in a wooden idol with no power of its own.

The second person I observed was a man in his late 20’s. Renae, Elizabeth and I were at the park in front of our house where he sat with his other male friends talking loudly with crude gestures. His rough demenor made me a bit uncomfortable and as I turned to leave, Frank came driving around the corner with Pastor Carlos and Caleb. Renae and I walked over and giggles and laughs soon filled the air as the children greeted their father. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed the young man had intently watched the interaction between the children and their father. His face was no longer hard and calloused but a look of longing flooded his eyes. The longing for love perhaps. A longing to belong and to be cared for.

This corresponds so well to the heart of God expressed in Isaiah 45:22: "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Pray for us that we might direct the eyes of the Spanish people towards God who is much greater than the works of human hands, who carries the burdens of the weary and desires an intimate relationship with those who would but simply look to Him.

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