It was dark.
The world was dark. The people felt it. They understood darkness. Dark governments, dark families, dark hearts. The words of Isaiah fell as a hope to the burdened listeners. Dark eyes staring back at the prophet. Oh, how they needed a Counselor, a Mighty God to free them. Oh, how the broken home needed a Father who would never leave. Peace, Israel needed peace. But an everlasting peace sounded like a fairy tale. To Israel, the words were more like a hopeful dream. They could only wait and observe if Isaiah’s words were predictions or ramblings of a crazed lunatic.
Thousands of years later, I enter a cold dark tent-like home called a ger. I’m in Mongolia, and this is my first week on the mission field. Inside, I find no fire even though the temperature outside falls far below freezing. I am here on a family visit, but I see no adult in this home, only two small babies no more than weeks old. I spot them side by side, all bundled up in thick quilts. I am here with the poorest of the poor for the very first time in my life. I have entered in. I rest my heavy backpack on the floor and wait. Moments later, the mother opens the only door to the circular one-room house, and with her, the icy cold air blasts in. I notice her small hands red and cracked from cold, grasping the handle of a bucket full of wood. She looks empty, desperate, void of hope.
“I am trying to keep us alive,” she says, skipping a greeting. “I had to choose between wood to keep us warm or rice to eat. I chose wood”. My heart leaps as I remember what was making my backpack so heavy. Before I left for this visit, I thought back to that small voice nudging me to grab the bag of rice sitting on my pantry shelf. I watch her start the fire in the small wood stove. Like the prophet, I have a message of hope for her future. Will she receive it, or is it too dark for her to see?
I watch her blow on the embers in the wood and think, do you need a counselor, mother? Are you seeking peace? Do you long for A father who provides, protects, loves? Do you need justice, mother? It doesn’t have to stay dark. The fire ignites, causing an orange glow to reflect off her tired face. I give her the rice and tell her about Who instructed me to bring it.