Immeasurably More

Posted: December 22, 2012 in Zoe Children's Home

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us,

 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus

throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Eph 3:20, NIV)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly two weeks since I last saw the children, staff, missionaries and Zoe Ministry School students at Zoe Children’s Home, and that it’s been a full ten days since I arrived back home.  I had been told that the time at Zoe would fly by, but I found that it moved beautifully slowly.  Maybe that’s because I had nothing to do all day but marvel at God’s work and pour His love on those amazing kids and their caretakers.  Here, my life is filled with work, Facebook, grandkids, volunteering, shopping … way too much stuff, and with few exceptions (n.b.: grandchildren), little of it seems to matter all that much.  But on the mission field, everything matters. Because everything is about the mission – in particular, the missio Dei, the mission of God – unfolding in our midst.

For nearly two decades, I had dreamed of going to Thailand, and my dreams had become quite huge, unrealistic and unreasonable.  But when by dreams finally came true, I found that they had in fact been pathetically puny.  I began to see God’s dream unfold before me, and I watched how He was turning it into reality.  His dreams are always “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

For nearly as long, I had been telling myself that I was “in love with Thailand.”  I now know that I was only in love with the idea of Thailand.  But now that I have been there and seen the land, the people, the need and the fullness, the mission, the children, the miracles, the joy, the love, I can truly say that God has filled me with a love for Thailand that is, again, “immeasurably more that I ask or imagine.”

I know. You want specifics.  You want stories.  I understand, but one of the reasons it’s taken me nearly two weeks to write about my time there is that I simply can’t find the words to do justice to the experiences.  You just have to, well, experience them.

But there is one thing that comes close to telling the story.  Zoe Children’s Home exists to rescue and provide shelter, education, the love of a family, the good news of Jesus, and the joy of His healing to children who are either in grave danger of being trafficked, or who have been trafficked.  Now, I don’t care how much of all things a deeply traumatized child receives, there seems to be some residual of that trauma that stays around for a very long time – years, decades, even a lifetime.  On my way to Zoe and the months before going, I expected that there would be some of the children who would be battling behavioral and emotional issues stemming from their experiences.  I knew it would be a good place, but not necessarily a happy place – not all the time, anyway.

But when I set foot in Zoe Children’s Home and saw the sparkle in those kids’ eyes, the smiles on their faces, the giggles from their mouths, and the unabashed joy pouring from deep within their being, I knew that I had found not just a “happy’ place, but  — sorry Disney – the Happiest Place on Earth!

But then, it only gets better.  Every Tuesday evening, the entire Zoe family – kids, staff, ministry school students – all gather for prayer meeting.  It’s all done quite simply.  Shortly before everyone begins to arrive, the lights are dimmed, and praise and worship music is played.  There are no announcements; everyone just knows that, as they arrive, it is time to pray.  We had been briefed ahead of time, and were told that, if we would find a place on the floor (there are not many places to sit other than the floor) and began to pray, we would receive a blessing.  Oh, did I ever!  As I sat there quietly, numerous people – staff, ZMS students, older children, little ones – would come up to me, set their hands on me, and pray for me.  I had no clue what they were saying, but the honor that I felt was being bestowed on me in those moments, and the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in and through these children – keep in mind where they had come from! – was overwhelming.  I knew that I was in the presence of spiritual giants, some of whom were under 4 feet tall.

What had made these little ones into such giants was the very thing that would have destroyed so many of us.  They had started out with nothing, and then lost everything they had.  They could not have been in a worse place.  But Jesus came to them, first in the form of a person – or several – who rescued them, took them in, cared for them, and showed them real love for the first time in their lives.  Then by His grace they began to see beyond those people to Jesus, Himself.  And they saw in Him something far, far greater than all that they had ever lost.

I often speak of the time when his disciples asked Jesus who was the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven, and He grabbed a kid.  Or when he pointed to the children who had gathered around Him and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Jesus was telling us that our greatest, best, and most profound teachers are not the people with the seminary degrees, but children.

And here I was, sitting on the floor of the big meeting room at Zoe Children’s Home, being schooled by a bunch of these wise, experienced teachers.

More to come …

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Comments
  1. Betsy says:

    Thanks you so much for sharing your heart, Craig. This is so beautifully written. It really captures, I think the beautiful sense of God’s presence we all feel when we visit ZOE. He is an amazing God!!

  2. Carroll Gleason says:

    Craig, the sharing of your heart of the experience you had with ZOE is truly a blessing to read. As the scripture says, “When one rejoices, we all rejoice…” and your sharing proves that to be true. May your fervor ever increase in the calling God has brought you to. Blessings and Shalom to you you, my friend.

  3. Elisheva Carlson says:

    How wonderful! I was moved by those children and I wasn’t even there 🙂 We definitely can learn the grace of God through them.

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