Today I live in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti. Tomorrow I will be on a plane making my way back to the United States. In fact, by the time you read this I may already be back on American soil. But for today, for this last full day, I live in Haiti. I live in the valley area of Haiti where to my north are mountains and to my south are mountains. During rainy season the mountains are cooled and green with the touch of daily rain, but down here in the valley most things remain dry – except for this soul. Like the words breathed on Isaiah 58 I am satisfied in a parched land, like a watered garden, or like a spring whose waters never run dry (v11).
But I must make an honest assessment of myself and admit I am fearful of returning back to the Land of Busyness and Distraction. Busyness masked with the word productive and distraction with entertainment, how could I find focus and rest amidst this chaos I once lived?
What about you? How do you find focus amidst all the things vying for you attention? How do you find rest amidst the break-neck speed limit we’ve enforced upon ourselves? Or do you find focus? Are you even able to rest?
One of the unexpected treasures I discovered here was the C.S. Lewis classic “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. Since packing a suitcase of books didn’t seem practical I was at the mercies of hoping others here would maybe have a few books worth reading. It was in August that I stumbled upon this series, thought, “why not”, then plunged myself into them. I was immediately enamored with the books, but mostly, it was Aslan I wanted more of. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, yes it is a series of children’s books, but yes, it is also written by one of the most influential Christian writers with the intent of religious symbolism. Aslan, a great lion, is the symbolic Christ in the series. In short (very short), some children from London accidentally stumble upon this other world of Narnia and meet Aslan. There, children become heroes and are often called up by Aslan to help save Narnia.
I think what I love so much is to read about the relationship between Aslan and Lucy, one of the children. Lucy has a beautiful and deep childlike faith in Aslan and it is she who sees and speaks most with Aslan. In the third book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy asks Aslan when she can return again to Narnia, but is told she can never return because she is growing too old and must learn to stay in her world. The proceeding lines are seared into my heart…
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy.
“It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
My vision is blurred reading those lines again. But why should lines from a children’s book cause tears for this 24-year old millennial with so much ahead of me? Simply put, because Lucy has perfectly articulated my fear in going home.
I love Haiti. But it isn’t Haiti. It’s Jesus. And as Lucy said, how can you live, never meeting Him? Because once you taste Him – no, I mean really taste Him – you can never have enough. Christ is the One thing which creates both full satisfaction and full desire.
And now my greatest fear is I would go home, be swept into the raging river of consumerism and American Dreaming, and forget Him. And tell me, how can I live never meeting Him?
Then Aslan gives the sweetest answer all of us Lucy’s could hope for, “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
My heart rate slows and peace transcends, falls upon me like the first gentle snow. Jesus whispers, “Child, I Am there, too”. Maybe this is it; maybe this is the answer to the oft-asked question, “Why Haiti?” That by knowing Him here for a little, I may know Him better there.
Scripture further comforts me by reminding me that:
“You will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you” (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
“I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently find Me.” (Proverbs 8:17)
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)
In the seeking is the finding. Like that of the lyrics, “The more I seek You, the more I find You. The more I find You, the more I love you” (“The more I seek you” by Kari Jobe).
If we want more of Him, we simply must seek Him, and seek Him with all that we have. Notice the beauty of Deuteronomy 4:29, “if you search after Him”, like Jesus is a treasure to be found. And oh, He is!
I no longer have to fear not meeting Christ on the other side of the terminal – He is there.
I no longer have to fear falling away from Him – He is always to be found.
I no longer have to fear not hearing from the Lord – He is always speaking and always listening.
Dear friends, I pray you see Him. I pray you hear Him. I pray you seek Him. I pray you meet Him. He is worth more than anything this world has to distract us. He is worth more than any praise from man for how “productive” you are. He is worth more than anything our culture tells us is worthy. He is I AM. He is the King of Kings. He sits enthroned on High and is worthy of all of worship and adoration. He is the Christ who was our crucified substitute. He is the Christ whose resurrection crushed death and silenced the Liar. Dear friends, I pray you so intimately encounter this Christ, this Jesus, this God, that you cannot remain unchanged. I pray He revives within you a hunger insatiable and a thirst unquenchable. I pray He becomes your greatest Love and the idea of missing Him becomes your greatest fear. I pray for the restoration of your life. And I pray, “when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:9).