You may not know this about me, but I seriously love the bush of Africa.
At times, I tell Mark I could live there for months and years – possibly for most of life. I can’t fully explain it, but something comes alive in me out where there is endless dust and beautiful space for God’s love to simply flow.
When we made the final decision to come to Mozambique this summer, I could not wait for the chance to get out into the bush and see what it would hold. And just two weeks ago the time came, when our camion of tents, food, and people was loaded up and headed off.
We whipped around sharp turns, waved to bewildered children who rarely see pale skin, bumped so high from massive potholes that our butts were bruised, and were completely covered by dust from the journey.
Those bush days are mostly a blur for me when it comes to specifics of each moment. We ran until the wee hours of the early morning when Mark and I would crash onto our $5 pool floats in our snug 2-person tent to be woken up just hours later by throngs of village children who couldn’t get enough of their pale-skinned visitors. We made friends, visited homes, hosted meetings, and sought to stay instep and beat with His rhythm.
And what He did was seriously breathtaking.
That weekend so many came to know Jesus and give their lives to Him. Person after person we prayed for was healed before our eyes, with their faces radiating this rich and raw wonder that they had just been touched. Pain fled from necks, backs, knees, legs and the like. And blind eyes were opened to the point that the man called to the “white girl in the red shirt” who stood in the room before him.
Freedom came in such tangible ways. We watched as those long entangled with witch doctor rituals rid their families and homes of all medallions, even in the face of threats that death would come on their loved ones if they did so.
One woman we visited was writhing in pain when we showed up at her door. Her stomach and back were filled with infection and sharp, unrelenting pain to the point that she could barely speak. After meeting her and her husband, we prayed asking Jesus to touch her. And right there, on her straw daybed, she was healed. Minutes later she was up walking as she hadn’t done for so very long. When we left, with 5 pounds of peanuts in hand as a thank you token, she was smiling ear to ear in peaceful relief.
She was in need. We prayed. And God, as only He can, healed her. It is the beautiful simplicity of the Kingdom.
The second night, Mark preached and we watched the village witch doctor’s wife, along with many others, receive Jesus. Afterwards we held a prayer, or “fire tunnel,” for the entire village to walk through. They were all asked to place their hand on the place they needed prayer and we would pray simple words of healing as they passed. What happened next was incredible.
Person after person was touched, receiving what they needed as they walked through. By halfway down the tunnel, most were no longer limping or pointing to their wounded area. Instead, they were walking, dancing, laughing, and rejoicing – because they were in need and Jesus healed them.
There are so many things I found in the dust that weekend, and one of the most beautiful treasures was my revived expectation of His movement. Stepping into the bush, I found myself walking with this rested anticipation that God would certainly move wherever I was. I didn’t need to be concerned with if He would do something, but with what He wanted to do.
Our task is to stay so near to His heart to discern what He is doing, not operating from assumption, but out of moment-by-moment intimacy. All He asks is for us to stay close and listen in. And from this place comes the question you and I get to ask each day: “So what are you doing now?”
The rightful place from which miracles flow is the place of intimacy, knowing that He will move because of who He is; it is never from a posture of begging or demanding Him to do something. When we walk in identity, our demands diminish because our expectation of Him moving builds in each moment.
Our bush weekend was marked by finding myself so rested in as His that I carried this joyful expectation of Him moving, touching, healing, breathing, beckoning, reconciling, and encountering. And…He did.