But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
I’d posted a picture on social media of our home in Papua, and it looked so peaceful. I remember reading some of the comments and agreeing, but wishing that people could truly know the three-dimensional version of the place where we live. Just recently when a friend from the states came to visit, she was able to verbalize what I had been feeling. She thought she knew about where we lived, but until she could hear, smell and live in it, she truly could not understand it. If only the pictures included the sound of loud motorcycles or voices shouting, the smell of garbage rotting, the people pushing and staring …the heat. Our house at sunset looks peaceful, but the truth is there is often unrest on the other side of the fence. I am thankful for the safety we have inside the walls of our base; going beyond those walls takes trust and grace to step outside. It is sometimes challenging to live in a town where residents still settle arguments by warring with each other. You can’t let down your guard when you are out and about.
Pictures can rarely capture the reality of life—the smells, the sounds, the feelings. Thankfully, God knows the real picture; He knows my heart. I’m learning to rely on that—to let it be enough. I’m also trying not to judge a scene or situation by what I see on the outside, but extend the grace that He shows me moment by moment.
I am thankful for His grace and for the friends and family back home who are praying for us. It gives us the courage to step beyond our “picture-perfect” home so we can continue to reach out and be His hands and feet to a hurting world.