While there his wife gave birth to a son they named Robert. He was the couple's joy. At the age of five Robert, "Bobby" contracted a tropical disease. George assured his son has he carried him to his clinic that he'd be able to help him. But the boy died. George built a wooden coffin and placed his boy inside. He placed the coffin on his shoulder and started walking toward a clearing for burial. A tribal member asked what was in the box. George told him. The man volunteered to help.
"So the old man took one end of the coffin and I took the other. Eventually we came to the clearing in the forest. We dug a grave there and laid Bobby in it. But when we had covered up the grave, I just couldn't stand it any longer . . . I fell down on my knees in the dirt and began to sob uncontrollably.
"the old man cocked his head in stunned amazement. He squatted down beside me and looked at me so intently. For a long time, he sat there listening to me cry. Then suddenly, he leaped to his feet and went running back up the trail through the jungle, screaming, again and again, at the top of his voice, 'White man, white man -- he cries like one of us.'"
The next Sunday the entire tribe was at church. They finally wanted to learn about Jesus.
The tribe had to see the missionary's heartbreak, his vulnerability to want what he had. The tribe had to see that he was just like them. He hurt just like they did.
Two things come to mind: first, that this is exactly what God did when Jesus became human. God became the most vulnerable He could in the body of a tiny helpless babe.
And second, the importance of us being real and very human in front of those we want to reach for Jesus. People don't need to see surface faith. They don't need to see do-gooders. They need to see that we Believers are totally human and totally full of hope at the same time. They need to see that we too mess up. They need to see that we too hurt and bleed and get tired and get frustrated. But when we do, Jesus lifts us up. We Americans are so darn independent. We hide behind socially acceptable facial expressions.
What if this Christmas season we get real with each other?
What if, when you spend time with others because of the holiday, you really share your heart?
What if you have some deep conversations?
Ask some hard questions. Share some stories you've never shared.
We gotta connect with each other emotionally in order for God to use us with each other. We can't close ourselves off or put emotional walls up and expect breakthroughs.
It takes courage, but Jesus will give it to you. Just ask Him.