Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

The Work of God Takes No Holiday

on July 2, 2014

I have been enjoying my time here in Cape Town immensely and, therefore, was taken completely off-guard when I realized that God was doing deep work in my soul.

There are racial hierarchies here in Cape Town. In some contexts my professional-class American-ness is visible, and I am seen as “Milady.” However, the more ministry takes me into regular Cape Town life, the more I am seen as a regular Cape Townian. And for me, being mistaken for a regular, native daughter means being mistaken for a member of the group with the lowest social status in this society.

Being identified as lowest class felt unacceptably wrong, though. The deepest part of me rebelled against this categorization. I found myself wanting to say “Yes!” to being identified as African, but “Absolutely not!” to being identified as lowly.

But The Lord challenged me. “Perhaps I brought you here to be with the people, as one of the people. Why are you resisting the world calling you lowly and not esteeming you?” I thought of Jesus, who made Himself nothing. Who took the form of a slave.

Yet, I did not want to make myself nothing. I had spent my life trying to make myself something.

I became angry at The Lord for asking me to embrace the vestiges of poverty, to return to a community of less-fortunates from which I had worked so hard to escape.

I spent a week lamenting and decrying how unfair it was that God wanted more from me. Hadn’t I surrendered enough already — hopes for a brilliant career, a loving husband, children, home ownership, etc? And wasn’t this challenge slightly crafty of God? Bringing me to the most beautiful city in the world, letting me think I was on a holiday of unmerited blessing just because God wanted to bless me, when in reality my good time here has only been a Palm Sunday, with God knowing that Good Friday awaited me.

“Why do I have to die to respectability and economic security and middle-to-upper-class-ness, Lord? Why did you bring me here to die?”

The Lord let me pout and cry and accuse, all the while pouring out blessing, goodness and lovingkindness to me. Finally, after one particularly glorious night, I was forced to abandon my fight with God, and to confront and reject my corrupted beliefs. I affirmed the truth: God really loves me. Whatever God asks of me is out of His love for me. Whatever God desires for me is for good. If God desires for me to become lowly, then God will help me to desire and to become lowly.

Instantly, the struggle ended. I heard The Lord reminding me that my worth does not rest in my financial, class or social status, nor in what the world says or thinks about me. He whispered that His acceptance and love is deep and close. He is in me and I am in Him. Nothing can diminish who I am in Him or who He is in me.

Suddenly, I could painlessly surrender to the idea of being whoever the person beholding me sees. As Independence Day approaches, I do believe I have been freed from needing social status. Wow!

What about you? Has The Lord been ferreting out any deep issues lately?

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