I like the word “visceral.” I use it sometimes when I want to describe a response to something—one that emerges out of deep feelings, and doesn’t get filtered by rational thought.
For example, when I describe the time I slogged down a cup of leftover coffee which had been left overnight in the cup holder of my car only to discover a drowned cockroach sloshing around in my mouth while savoring the last swallow, I get a pretty predictable response from listeners—a visceral scrunched-up face and a groan—“That’s just DISGUSTING!” My response on that fateful day was visceral too. I remember spewing that last swallow of cold coffee and everything floating in it back into that cup and scrambling out of my car like it was on fire, looking for a place to scour out my mouth as quickly as possible.
We have visceral responses to many realities. When I recite one of our frequent Taiwan encounters with creepy-crawly things like snakes, spiders, and lizards, many of our friends and family unthinkingly shiver and mutter, “How can you stand to live in that place?!” More significantly, when we see someone bullying a child, we feel compelled to do something. When terrorists cut off heads or blow up innocent people, the rage wells up inside us and we feel like screaming, “STOP!”
I have a question for you (and me too): When you hear of places in the world where people live and die without really hearing the gospel (like many corners of our ministry area in Taiwan), what is your response? Is it visceral? “That’s just WRONG!” and “I HAVE to find a way to get them the good news!”
Our typical response to the needs of the world’s lost people is so different from God’s. His willingness to sacrifice greatly so that these precious ones can be saved emerges from deep in his character. When we, in the face of such great and obvious need, hesitate, calculate the cost to our own interests, and distance ourselves from these needs, we set ourselves up in opposition to him and what he is doing. And so, we too are among the lost who need his grace and forgiveness.
As Sandy and I take time during these days in the USA to reflect on the needs in Taiwan and make plans for future ministry, we find God strengthening our resolve to continue and even increase our efforts to bring the Word closer to the unreached in Taiwan. We know that God has given many of you that same resolve to join us in finding a way to get the good news to those in Taiwan who are still outside God’s kingdom. Thanks be to God for his enabling grace!
Please pray for us as we continue to travel throughout the USA this spring and share about our Taiwan ministry. We want to be God’s hands/feet/voice to bring his Word closer to those we meet.
Ethan and Sandy Christofferson serve the Church of the Lutheran Brethren as missionaries to the unreached Hakka people of Taiwan.