Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Month One: Grace amidst the darkness


Want to hear something crazy? I've been in New Delhi for a month. A full month. It's gone by so fast. It's easy to slip into a routine, work hard, play hard, and forget that what's become your everyday hustle is something you only dreamed about months before. What I do now everyday are things that were totally alien to me not that long ago. It's easy to accept a routine and forget what it took to get you there. And it's not until I stop and talk to friends and family back home that I realize just how "foreign" this place is; and how crazy it is that I'm even here at all. And then that made me think, "how foreign and crazy would my daily routine back in the states be to the people over here." I pictured myself telling a slum child what was my "normal."

I wake up to begrudgingly to an alarm from my smartphone. My room is air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter. After I wake up I open a fully stocked fridge to make a huge breakfast my family will sit around the table and enjoy together. Then I take a hot shower. I use soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I brush my teeth and I leave the water running. I blow dry my hair, and if I'm gong somewhere special I might even use a curling iron. Already I've used more electricity than they'll use in a month and it's not even 10am.  I bet that kid wouldn't even believe me. It's a fairy tale, they would tell themselves. They live in a one room shack in the middle of a garbage dump. They eat one meal a day, if they're lucky. The own one set of clothes and share a water source with the whole community. They've never seen the inside of a restaurant or even a bathroom. If they are able bodied they work sun up to sun down scavenging the garbage dump. If they are too young, too old, or too crippled to do that, they beg for money on the busy street, dashing away when the light turns green. I've been here a month and I have never seen someone give anything to a beggar.

They are filthy. They are wild. They are ignorant. They are sick. They are selfish.
And they are beautiful.  They are loving. They are energetic, and spastic, and affectionate. They come with diseases. They come with infections. They come with blackened eyes and matted hair itching with lice. They come for love. They come for Jesus.

It's easy to see the result of the fall in a New Delhi slum. It's easy to see the depravity of man, and the hardening of mankind's hearts.
But if you look for it, you can also see the image of God too.
I can see it when Guma gives her last bit of food to her baby sister, La Lita. I can see it when Karen comes bursting in the door strutting with pride because he got a pair of pants. He's a seven year old boy and he's thrilled because he got a change of clothes. I can see it in the wonder and acceptance in their eyes when the stroke my fair skin with curiosity and try to wipe away my freckles. I can see it in their gratitude. I can see it in their openness. And I can see it in their joy.

They do manual labour in a garbage heap in 115 degree weather with 80% humidity. But every Friday night they come together and they worship Jesus. They sing, and smile, and clap their hands. And then they sit and listen to the wondrous story of Jesus.

Here's the beauty of God's Grace: it called me out of an upper-midde class home in Walnut Ridge Arkansas, and it calls them from a garbage dump in New Delhi. God offered His marvelous Grace to me, just as He offered it to them, and offers it to you.
There is no difference.