It’s hard to grasp something that doesn’t seem tangible. Honestly, that’s a big reason many struggle accepting faith. Hebrew 11:1 tells us “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” There are going to be times we don’t see how things will work out, but we have hope and conviction through Jesus. Despite life’s circumstances, we know the end of the story. Because of Christ, we fight from victory, and through Christ we have the power to make the intangible, tangible. In Haiti last week, God repeatedly reminded me that He wants the gospel to be tangible to His children.
As I prepared my heart to serve with Mission of Hope: Haiti (MOH), I was ready to audibly share the Gospel. My first rendezvous with MOH was highlighted by time walking the village of Source Matelas praying and sharing the good news with passers-by. At that time, 19 Voodoo strongholds existed and many people struggled accepting Jesus. Sixteen months later, God’s fingerprints have spread throughout the village. Only two Voodoo strongholds remain and every person I came in contact with knew Jesus and attended church regularly. I was elated by the life transformation experienced in Source Matelas through the precious name of Jesus over such a short period of time.
My elation lasted a whole two days of service before discontentment flooded my tainted heart. As I helped entertain children during a Wednesday afternoon kids club, it was apparent that my role in Haiti contrasted greatly from my first trip and I was not happy about it. Instead of walking Source Matelas engaging in conversations about Jesus like I had planned, I played the role of human jungle gym. And that’s when it hit me. Earlier in the week, MOH staff encouraged the teams to spread Love through seeing, hearing, and feeling. A light bulb went off and I realized God didn’t need me to serve through speech. Instead, He needed me to make Jesus known through sight and touch.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34
In Mark 6:34, the disciples return from their own mission trips. Jesus recognizes their need for rest, so the gang heads to the middle of nowhere for a much needed break. When they reach their destination, over 10,000 people greet them. Rather than entering a place of rest, they stumbled on a giant group of people with physical and spiritual needs. Jesus tends to both and leaves an example for us to do the same. This scripture tells us, and MOH staff reminded me last week, that it’s just as important to see and feel the gospel as it is to hear the gospel.
The crowd sees the gospel when Jesus and the disciples set aside their plans to tend to the crowd’s needs. They hear the gospel when Jesus begins teaching. They feel the gospel when the bread and fish touch their lips. In these moments the gospel becomes tangible.
At Vacation Bible School throughout the week, our team was given the opportunity to pray for the children who adopted our laps as a place of comfort and protection. We got to use our hands and feet to hold the timid and chase the bold. We got to whisper, “Jezi renmen ou” into tiny ears with hope and anticipation that Jesus’ love would be the foundation of their lives (and that they could actually understand our broken Creole). We tended to physical needs by serving warm meals. Our role was revealing the gospel through seeing and feeling. Our Haitian counterparts’ role was a combination of all three. With hindsight twenty-twenty, I wouldn’t have it any other way because the lips sharing the gospel will influence the children for the duration of their lives, not the duration of a mission trip.
I’ve learned that seeing, hearing, and feeling are equally important. It seems to me that we tend to hover over one of the three, but I’m convinced the trio works together to make the intangible, tangible. Yes, hearing the gospel is critical (Romans 10:17), but it falls on deaf ears if people don’t see the gospel through the way we live and feel it by the way we love. After all, God doesn’t just tell us He loves us, He shows his love for us.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
How will you make the gospel tangible today?