I’m so thankful I was created with the notion to write down my thoughts while processing. Some people talk to themselves, others pray, I write. This allows me to remember exactly how I’m feeling in each moment.
I’m currently at a too-crowded wat (Cambodian temple) in Phnom Penh and it’s here that I am seeing families walking together, university students studying, and strangers enjoying lunch on a shady bench. This seems so American. I feel as if I’m in my past experiences, perhaps Central Park in New York City or Potsdam just outside of Berlin.
But there’s a significant difference in this moment. While I feel at home in the center of this park, I am heavy. My body is literally heavy under the presence of these demons and spiritual warfare. Here in the middle of this beautiful city, I’m finding myself at home, yet spiritually depressed.
You see, whether while teaching at school, shopping at a night market, or visiting cultural sights with my group, I am constantly reminded by small spirit houses and meditating monks that my faith is a minority here, nearly nonexistent actually.
I see so many dedicating their life to their gods. Some people are giving their literal last meal to their spirit houses while they and their children go hungry. A nation that is stricken with poverty is giving its greatest resources to building exquisite temples. It’s beautiful, yet equally heartbreaking.
I’m heartbroken because my thought is this: if I was as dedicated to reading Scripture, praying to my Father, giving to others and the church, sharing the Gospel, and simply living out my faith daily, what change could I make? I see a society giving all they have to their gods in vain. Yet here I am, not giving enough simply because my God, the true God, doesn’t require it of me.
He knows my failures and mistakes, yet he continues to love me. I don’t have to build a temple or give my last meal to appease Him. All He asks is that I love and pursue Him. In a nation so opposed to this, I’m reminded each moment how good my Father is.