Of a Symphony.

And so, I find myself back in Senegal. A city where thanks to the filth blanketing every unfamiliar novelty that vies for my attention, my skin is perpetually several shades darker than it is in North Carolina. A gentle breeze whispers across the Atlantic and carries a subtle tingle of salt into my bedroom window- masking the stale stench of sweat and rancid trash that stubbornly clings to every created thing in Dakar. In my back yard, the call to prayer echoing from a nearby mosque and the forlorn bleating of goats bred for ritual sacrifices comprise the haunting, desperate symphony that serves as a soundtrack for life here.

GK Chesterson once commented that “Praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul”. I read that, and was struck by the simple fact that if there were a permanent pulsation to the “soul of Dakar” so to speak, it would be fear. I saw it on Friday as we drove through crowded streets that were littered with endless lines of men answering the call to prayer. They stood barefoot on their cheerfully colored prayer rugs-a startling contrast to their grave faces. Man after man stood carefully, each balling their hands into nervous fists at their sides as their mouths moved quickly in silent, anxious pleas to Allah. Some stood next to their young sons-little boys not more than seven or eight years old. There were too many of them to count.

What a daunting thing it is to drive past those men-to drive by anyone in Dakar- and realize that statistically

Five of the people that are teaching me what it means to love someone like Jesus does.

they probably have no idea that they were created for Jesus. That the God they are so afraid of longs for them to know Him as He is-and not as they imagine Him.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example to those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.”

I read that in church this morning while I was supposed to be listening to the sermon. [Oh hush-you wouldn’t focus during a two hour French church services in a stifling, oven-like room at 8:00 AM either!]

 I am the worst of sinners. BUT [how beautiful is that word?!] God decided to show off His exclusive power to save by redeeming a girl that was hopelessly dead in sin, and making her alive in Him. Now He uses the hot mess that I am to display how good He is to people enslaved by fear that simply do not understand that the gospel is for them. And if you walk with Jesus, that is His calling on your life! We are called to put flesh and blood on who Jesus is and what He came to do-we simply cannot love Jesus and not care about the billions of people surrounding us that do not yet know Him. God longs for the permanent pulsation of each of our souls to be praise. Not casual, perfunctory devotion-but the radical recklessness that characterizes His love and pursuit of each of us.

That ought to change everything.


  1. I.

    That is all.

    Also, that was my verse for my 1st letter last year! YAY. Beautifully said yet again, Miss Peterson!

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