The phone rang. We were deep in the packed traffic of a downtown Saturday and at first I didn’t hear the phone over the cacophony of car horns and revving buses. On the phone was our friend who pastors the storefront church we have called home here in Senegal. With one hand on the wheel, the other shifting gears through the erratic speeds of the streets, Elise held the phone to my ear as he told me the Mayor had destroyed the church building. At first I wasn’t sure I was hearing him correctly, but later that day when I was able to make my way over to the area all that stood as a remnant to the church was a pile of rubble and exposed rebar bent toward the heavens.
Those crumbled walls were difficult to look at. There in a mass of nothing was where our family first fellowshipped with Senegalese believers. In those yellow walls stained by water of raining seasons gone by we lifted our voices to worship the King of kings. Through the open doorway I had looked out over the uneven dirt road and watched as lost men, women and children skirted earthen mud puddles yet blind to eternity.
In the face of visible destruction, emotional loss and powerlessness we drift toward detachment. We cannot imagine a restoration great enough to reestablish our footing. And yet we know there is more. Even in the sorrow, even in the confusion, even in the face of the tides of time we know there is more. We know that beneath the disturbed ground, the unsettled soul, the finite weakness there stands a foundation unshakeable.
We know that our unshakeable foundation is Christ the Lord. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him,” (Col. 1.15-16). The walls may crumble but His throne remains.
And so the following Sunday we stood in a new building, a new gathering place. We stood up and we opened our hearts to worship the Lord who is building His kingdom (1 Pet. 2.5). Day by day, our Lord Jesus is placing His feet into every corner of Dakar, and he does that even through our displacement. He is reconciling to Himself the lost.
We can lift our arms like reinforced steel before the Lord among the nations. Bent and twisted from the chaos that comes, out footing remains in the firm foundation of Jesus. Thank you for lifting your arms with us as we reach the unreached, as we create space to see men, women and children meet with the Savior.