Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gratitude

While in China, there was no evidence of God anywhere.
I left my Bible and my cross at home. I was afraid they might be confiscated
at the airport, so I did without them.  As an officially "atheist" country,
I felt a real void there.  While visiting the Buddhist temples,
I was overcome with a deep sadness for the worshippers.  They were
there, burning their incense before the statue, whispering prayers
to a wooden idol, totally powerless to help them.  They were paying
money to the monks to write their prayer requests on the ribbons that they tied
everywhere. And they were folding paper into "heavenly money" that they
burned in order to send it to their ancestors in the afterlife.  And when I
asked our guide what he believed happened to us when we die, he said that
he believed life was just over, or if he was lucky, he would be reincarnated.  But he
wasn't sure, and he wasn't really concerned.  He just said he wasn't very religious.

My heart ached for the people of China.  It still does.  Billions of people that I believe
have no hope for the future, no relationship with a loving and forgiving heavenly
Father, no faith to help them through daily struggles, no Savior to cling to in times
of trouble.  And no hope of eternal life in a place of peace, where there are no more
tears, pain, or sorrow.

I was so moved in church today.  Just to get to sing the name of "Jesus" brought me to
tears. Just to sing the comforting words of the familiar hymns and bow and pray freely.
 I was so overcome with  gratitude for our free nation, for the freedom to worship the God
who loves me; to bring my Bible with me, to study its' words, to wear my
cross.  I know we all take things so for granted, but until you have been
in a place where freedom is non-existent, where religion is essentially
banned, where idol worship and paganism abound, and God is not just
forgotten, but never known, you do not understand how blessed we
truly are. 

sheltongail@hotmail.com

 

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