We sat in lawn chairs that sat in lush grass. Kids around us, running with cupped hands, catching summer fireflies. Friends, Amber and Seth, drawn together by the uncommon, only to us, common.
Seth leaned in and asked this question as if the night hinged on it, “What was it about Africa that was so redeeming for you?”
I almost laughed it away when I heard the word Africa because I’ve written and talked about it so much. What else could I say? But I didn’t laugh. I stopped and I let the question surround me, sink in. Because in his question, I found my answer.
I’ve struggled with this trip-turned-obsession. I was only in Kenya for 9 days, NINE short days! What is wrong with me, why can’t I get out of Africa?
I was redeemed as a child. I have lived my life serving God. I’ve made mistakes along the way, failing miserably, but God has always been in my life, a push and pull relationship. But before Africa, Jesus wasn’t enough. I sought after the American Dream and treated my Savior like a side dish. Somewhere along the way in my Christian walk, I’d forgotten the most important thing: Christ.
On that humid night in Arkansas, with fireflies lighting the night, I answered his question: It was the time, the place, the emptiness of my life coinciding with the hope that I saw. Africa renewed my purpose in Him. It’s the legacy I want to pass on to my kids: to love others more than I love myself.
Sarah Markley bravely asks the question, “Do I have to go to Africa” to be wrecked by God?”
I believe it comes when you least expect it, but are ready for it: next to a hospital bed, at a birth or death, alone with God or surrounded by friends. God uses the ordinary and often the extraordinary to grab our attention and refocus it on Him.
But for me, it was Africa.
And it feels like redemption.
What about you?