Tonight, I’m sitting up on our veranda with some candles, a little wine, and my iPod, playing a Bible study session with Beth Moore. My hubby recently bought me a little table for only 850yen at a recycle shop — bless him! He knew how I would love sitting at it, journaling and thinking, which is exactly what I’ve been doing tonight. I know I’ve blogged a LOT today, which is a little uncharacteristic for me lately, but I don’t care really.. I’ve had lots of things to blog about.
From my perch, I can easily see my neighbor’s kitchen and hear the water splash and the dishes clink as she cleans up from a late supper. She is a beautiful, gentle woman –she lost her husband just 5 months ago, at only 48. I thought tonight that I would love to invite her to sit on the veranda with me some evening, drink some wine together. Then I thought, “What would we talk about? Oh Lord, my Japanese can only handle simple questions, daily activities, shallow desires!” I want so much to share with her! I want so much for her to know that Jesus loves her, that He can see her washing dishes too and knows the dull ache in her heart from the surprising loss. I want her to know that He can free her from the fear of death. I want her to know she is loved. But all this seems so impossible to me.. I have a million excuses.. “I don’t speak much Japanese. I don’t know if she’ll feel comfortable or if anyone has ever asked her over. Maybe she’s too busy with work. I’ll feel stupid asking her to come over — what if there are a lot of awkward silences? What if she thinks my Japanese is horrible? What if there’s nothing to talk about? What if I look dumb? Even if none of these things happen, I still have NO IDEA how I could possibly communicate the Gospel to her..”
Then there’s always the thought of perhaps being the only person walking this earth who has ever sought the LORD on her behalf.. the only one to have ever looked into her life and wanted her to know Jesus. This train of thought always makes me seek the LORD, and when I bring my objections before Him, they crumple like sand beneath a wave. Do I have any control over what happens in this woman’s life? No. I only have choices to make in my own.
When I think about being the beloved of God, I have no qualms about possibly looking stupid and inviting her over.. about taking the time to write an email or formulate a sentence in Japanese that would be appropriate and not make her feel coerced into accepting my invitation — that would be sure to mention the wine, the talking, the fact that it would be just the two of us and that she could leave anytime. All of that takes such effort, but when I think about the holiness of God and His love for me — the fact that He sets apart good works for me to do and that I have only to do the things He asks of me, I can spend that time willingly.
Pray for her, friends. She has been impressed deeply upon my heart since I learned of her husband’s death, before I had even met her face-to-face. I feel so certain that Jesus has something He wants to say to her, but I am so very, very afraid that I will either get in the way or ignore His promptings altogether..