Paige B. – Recent Trip Participant from Gilbert Campus
“Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created.” Esther 4:14
We are inherently curious beings. We wonder why things happen to us, and why things never seem to pan out the way we thought they might. I have wrestled with this question a lot. I think that I began to find some resolution when I stopped putting myself in a box. We like boxes. They’re safe. They’re familiar. Growing up in Gilbert, Arizona, I had a pretty sweet box. My ten-year plan was to get my undergraduate degree in biophysics and attend medical school. Then once I was making big bucks, I could buy myself a sweet Audi, and live in an awesome house with my four kids, two dogs, and trophy husband. Those were the dimensions of my box.
However, that’s not what I was intended for. Although I’m fairly new in my walk with Jesus, I can say with certainty that we are not called to boxes. The Creator doesn’t fit into a box, so how can we? We were not created for boxes. We were created for something much greater than what we could ever fathom.
So what it is it? What am I created for? What we were created for is the Kingdom of God. It’s what Jesus spoke the most about. It’s what he brought.
Recently, I went on one of Central’s Global Connection trips to Egypt. I truly felt like I was experiencing the Kingdom. Despite fears of riots, terrorists, and misconceptions about Muslims, there is no denying that Egypt is a place where God’s hand is at work.
Take everything you know to be true about God, and keep in mind. Now, take everything that you think you know to be true about Egypt and Muslims, and throw that into your mental trashcan. Egypt is different from America. There are different customs, traditions, and even ways of dressing. We don’t speak the same language or eat the same foods, and we don’t have a call to prayer that goes off five times a day. But we also don’t have the love and hospitality that Egyptians show.
Before leaving, I got a lot of push back about my trip. Many questioned why I was going. They told me how “dangerous,” and “foolish,” it was. I was even told that I might die while I was there. This was from everyone, including Christians friends and even family.
Thankfully, those fears couldn’t have been farther from the truth. In fact, I had a good laugh because I felt safer there than I do when I’m in Phoenix.
My experience in Egypt was so positive. I was invited into strangers home for tea, and offered such nice gifts that I couldn’t possibly accept. I was offered more food than I could possibly eat. I was hugged by women, and was told that I was like a “light,” to them.
What stands out most to me is how Egyptian women would tell me how much they loved me. It just blew my mind. These people barely knew me, and half the time we barely even spoke the same language. I didn’t do anything to deserve their love. It was unconditional, undeserved, and unearned. However, it was plain that there was a mutual love between us.
That’s what God’s love is like. He knows everything about us. He knows why we do what we do, and yet He loves us.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
I think Egypt is a jewel in the eye of God.
How we get to the moment we were born for, may be unique. But we’re all called to love God, and love others. That is what we are intended for. We are called to love each other and our Creator.
I don’t think I’m called to sit back idly and wait for someone else to go. Loving Jesus and bringing forth his Kingdom means going to those places and loving the people. If I can be a “light,” to someone else, why wouldn’t I pursue that?
I don’t want to live a life of ignorance. I want the truth, and the truth is that there is a need out there far greater than anything I could’ve ever imagined.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” This is the reality in Egypt. There are lots of people who are at the edge of the Kingdom. They are open to having a light in their life. But there are so few willing to step out of the comfort of their box and bring it.
This last year I’ve had the pleasure of falling in love with Jesus and his kingdom. I’ve spent time studying the Gospels and what Jesus said and did. The part that convicted my spirit the most was his requirement to be his disciple. Luke 9:23, “Anyone who wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.”
I want to follow Jesus. This means that I must die to myself to find my life in Christ. And if I’m truly following Christ, then I ought to do what he did, and obey his commands. Jesus didn’t live in a box or seek a life of comfort. He went into the world and proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom.
So at twenty-one, after much wrestling, transferring schools, changing majors, and taking that trip, I can say with certainty that my experience in Egypt was among those things I was created for. It set a spark off in my heart. It does only so good to talk about Egypt, or to read about the need there, or to even write a blog post. What really captured my heart was going.
I don’t know where I’ll end up. I’d okay with it being Egypt. But my point is that as soon as I took God out of the box, that was the moment I realized that I am created to love.