“take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” –book of Exodus 3:5 (the Lord speaking to Moses)
“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He
walks everywhere incognito.”
― C.S. Lewis
I could see the emotions welling up in his throat though the event was more than a decade past already. It seemed to be a swirling mix of anger, sorrow, and guilt and one couldn’t predict which would surface from each coming word. He was retelling the story of the first time he had seen his mother since she abandoned him when he was two years old. When this women that he did not remember entered the room, he looked at her with pure rejection and said, “You’re not my mother.” The 8 yr old boy then retreated to the corner of the room and stared in the other direction. The mother sat quietly for several hours hoping that her son would open up to her, but his pain was too great, the wounds too deep for such a young boy to manage. As the young man, who is now in his 20’s, told this story around the camp fire it was clear to me that he struggled to reconcile rejecting his mother’s visit that day.
Strangely enough, through the emotions began to spring a story of hope and redemption. During those times he confessed that God had brought him to a place of love and safety in the orphanage. It was in this place that he learned to pursue God and believed that God had a good and perfect plan for his life. Today he is in a trade school to become a chef and plans to open his own fast-food restaurant in the future.
As part of The Life Church’s missions trip in January, we had taken about 10 of the oldest young men from the orphanage out to a riverside park of sorts. We swam, played soccer, and grilled chicken. We concluded the evening with a time of sharing life stories around a fire. Many of the young men shared heart breaking stories. All had come from broken families. One of the young men was proud to share that he had visited his siblings over the Christmas break and that three of them had committed to follow Jesus because of his testimony of a changed life. They had all been astonished by his new way of faith and his knowledge of the bible; all a testimony to the ministry of the orphanage.
In Exodus 3 when Moses saw a bush along his path and noticed that it was on fire, and yet was not being consumed, he turned his direction and went to observe it. It was Jan 2016 “Holy Ground” there that the angel of the Lord told him to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. That night I listened to these young men share how they had come from such terrible situations, and that in this place of safety and love in the orphanage they had been transformed by a God who sees them and who loves them.
When I heard that this healing had allowed them to birth hopes and dreams for their lives as they follow God, I realized that I was standing on holy ground. You see, there was nothing holy about the ground where Moses stood on that mountain, nor was there anything holy about that sandy river bank. But why both would be declared holy ground is because it was the place in which God was revealing himself and the transformation that occurs in all of us when we submit to what he is doing. From that ground God commissioned Moses to free the Israelites from Pharoah, and from this place God is commissioning these young men to break the cycle of poverty and spiritual oppression in their families and their communities. And so I took off my sandals…
For the sake of the Kingdom,
Verbo Puerto Cabezas