Beauty in a Migrant Work Camp

By conversing with the serpent, the door opened for his lies. The woman told him what God had commanded (with one addition…see last post) and the consequences if they disobeyed. The serpent refuted, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

We do it every day. We engage with this world and we believe its lies…lies about our identity and lies about God’s character.

As I was pondering the missed opportunities because of lies, I recalled a visit to a migrant work camp in San Quintin, Mexico. When we parked our van next to the temporary housing for many hard working families, children came running. I pulled a bubble wand out of my backpack and held it so the children could take turns blowing bubbles and giggle as they chased them.

Eventually we made our way to their parents. Most welcomed us with smiles as we attempted conversations. A few held back, carefully watching us from the doorways of their one room temporary “home.”

When evening arrived, we spread a large tarp on the ground and prepared a movie screen so we could watch a film about Jesus. I sat and immediately was surrounded by children. Two positioned themselves on my lap and at least three leaned against me.

It was a beautiful evening and a mild breeze was blowing. As I was enjoying what seemed like a taste of heaven, I found myself returning to worldly thoughts. I drifted away from the moment as I began thinking about the strong possibility that I would discover lice in my hair tomorrow. Yes, the wind had picked up and little girl’s hair became intertwined with my long hair. I knew it was my imagination but my scalp began itching. As I was contemplating all I would need to do to rid myself of lice later, a new thought interrupted my thoughts. Yes, inaudible words totally intruded on my thought process! Within my spirit, I heard, “Better is one day in My courts than a thousand elsewhere.”

I immediately understood this truth. I was sitting in God’s courts, in His presence, surrounded by His loved ones. I knew that there was not any other place in this entire world where I would prefer to spend my evening. I would not choose a tropical island. I would not choose a lush forest or a mountaintop. I wanted nothing more than to enjoy the moment in that beautiful migrant work camp.

The evening came to an end. We returned to our dorm and I pulled out my Bible to see where the word “court” was used. Psalm 84:10 reads, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” I had just lived those ancient words. I had experienced a day in God’s courts and it was truly better than a thousand days anywhere else in the entire world.

And FYI, I did not have lice!

If Eve had only recognized the beauty of the garden where God’s presence abounded. The enemy lied to her. He told her God was not telling the truth when He said the penalty for disobedience would be death. He insinuated that God was holding out on her. He misled her to believe she wasn’t created in the image of God.

We have the same enemy. He works through the ways of our world. He tells us that God can’t hold us accountable for our sin and therefore, God isn’t holy and just. He tells us God withholds His goodness from us; therefore God must be stingy and unkind. And the enemy attacks the truth of who God says we are. He whispers lies. “You’re worthless.” “You’re not smart, not creative, not capable, not_____” (fill in the blank).

Our unseen enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy. He wants to steal the gifts of joy, peace and patience given to us by God. He seeks to kill loving relationships. His desire is to destroy our hopes and dreams.

We, like Eve, have a choice. We can believe the lies. Or we can believe the One who speaks truth with unconditional love. We can choose the ways of this world or we can seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

All I know is … better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere.

Question to ponder:

Am I quick to believe what the world says is good? Or do I trust what God defines as good?

Am I in pursuit of a kingdom perspective?

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