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Learning Love

One of God’s greatest gifts to me this last year is love for Japan.  God has shown me a little of his love for the Japanese, and even put it in my heart to feel it as well.

Because I definitely didn’t always feel this way.  Even after I decided to go to Japan, I didn’t really care for them much more than I cared for any other unreached people (which wasn’t much to begin with).  And I knew that wasn’t right – how could I go serve a people I didn’t love?  So I spent several months praying that God would give me a heart for the Japanese.

And I got several months of nothing.

What’s wrong with me?  I wondered.  Am I just that selfish and cold-hearted?  Am I wrong about my conviction to go to Japan?

Then in April, I went to the 2010 IJM Global Prayer Gathering (which was awesome by the way) and on the opening night the main focus was not social justice or the end of slavery or fixing the world.  The focus of prayer was our personal relationships with Christ.  Because in what is ultimately a spiritual battle, the most important thing we can do is to fix our eyes on God.

And so I did.  My prayer changed from “God, give me a heart for the Japanese” to “God, give me a heart for you.”  I stopped worrying about whether I loved the Japanese or not.  And I felt pretty selfish, because the only reasons I had for going to Japan were personal ones; reasons that didn’t necessarily have much to do with the Japanese (though certainly I hoped they would benefit).  But the speaker at IJM was right – what’s most important is our relationship with God, and that required my primary focus.

About 7 months later, I heard Michael Oh of Christ Biblical Seminary in Nagoya talk about his mission in Japan and the darkness they faced.  As we gathered to pray for Japan, I realized my heart had changed without me even noticing.  I don’t know exactly how or when it happened, but I loved the Japanese.  To hear of their brokenness made me want to weep.  And if God calls me (preferably loudly and unmistakably…) to lay down my life for them, lay it down I will.

-__-  Clearly, I still have a long way to go.  But I think its amazing to see God whose love is so amazing not only does it stretch out to the world, but it can even teach insensitive, uncaring, and indifferent me to love as well.

Categories: Lessons Learned
  1. alice o
    May 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    thx for sharing Jess! Reading this makes me think of the times when we used to be able to share and pray for one another during RCF saturday morning prayer. I’m keeping you in my prayers!

  2. clare
    May 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    i was sharing w/ my sg last week and sharing about your post about a desire for God first and foremost–it really struck home. thanks jess for your honesty. thinking and praying for you!

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