Me < David Livingstone < Christ.

June 17, 2008

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in terms of health. I feel like I’ve been hit by three waves of the most odd, unrelated illnesses. I’ve had a day of recovery, literally, in between each wave. I’m just coming out of the third one, & tonight, I’m feeling much better.

I’m not planning on a fourth one, so some of the posts I had in queue should be up this week.

I finished a biography on David Livingstone, 19th century missionary to Africa, yesterday. I was really dizzy while reading it, but I couldn’t put it down.

For about the last 15 years of his life, he suffered with severe, reoccurring river fever, persistent bleeding that eventually nearly drained all his blood, ulcerated feet, and other major health issues that required either bed rest or surgery, but he kept trekking through central Africa, looking for a river that would open up a way for “good” trade (as opposed to slave trading) & the gospel.

It wasn’t that he was ignorant of his health problems. He was a trained doctor. But he counted the cost, in his old age, of taking the years necessary to recover & the years he could spend still preaching the gospel to each new village he found & years he could spend searching for a pathway into central Africa. He chose the latter.

When I read of the things he did, the hope he maintained, & his strong resolve to keep moving forward even in spite of pain & weakness, I felt like such a weakling, sitting in bed and struggling to even walk to the kitchen. Sometimes, like the rest of us, I wonder if I’d be able to do what he did if I were in that situation, but again, the reminder came: we receive grace for the moment, not for what might or might not come.

I guess the question to ask isn’t, “Could I do what David Livingstone did if I were in his shoes?” The question to ask is, “Could the God of David Livingstone do in & through even a life like mine what He did in & through David’s?” The answer is, “Yes.” The God of David Livingstone, the God of Mary, the God of Job, the God of the Apostle Paul . . . God doesn’t change. He still speaks truth through His Word, the Bible. He still gives strength to the weary & grace sufficient to the weak humble.

David wrote, “I shall open a path into the interior — or perish.”

That’s intensity. But what more could you expect from someone who is passionate about his Savior & knows the immensity of an eternity apart from Him? He wasn’t a perfect man, but he was a man being perfected by Christ, his Righteousness.  He was a mere man used by Almighty God.


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