Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
This scripture makes a lot of sense in the context of Sweet Sleep, in whose mission orphans -- and by extension -- widows are served. But what about the rest of the verse; the part of the verse that spoke to my new friend and called him to become my teammate in Gulu last month?
What does it mean to keep oneself from being polluted by the world? I did not realize I had been struggling with this, silently, for several months.
As my involvement with Sweet Sleep has increased, my family has had to adjust to a new normal at home. They had never had to share me with the outside world. Over time I have realized a new sensation:
What do you do when selflessness becomes uncomfortable? Do you stand firm in the faith that God is using you, actively, in a season? Or do you allow yourself to be polluted by the world and believe you do not have time or ability to serve Him as He has called you?
What happens when you give until it hurts and what does that even mean? God expects much from those to whom much has been given. Do you give with faith that God will provide, even in tight times or do you allow yourself to be polluted by the world and believe that you should hold onto your resources; save them for a rainy day?
The answer is simple: Religion, pure and faultless is not comfortable. Pursuing Christ with selfless abandon should feel like drinking from a fire hydrant. It should overwhelm us and take our breath away and make us cry. How can we possibly assume we can tolerate His greatness without a measure of pain? When we love and ache for something so deeply, boundaries and limits of what we would sacrifice tend to become irrelevant. And when we approach those limits, and tip our toes across those boundaries, and live a life unpolluted by the world, we realize we still have not done enough. We could never do enough to repay the limits to which our Father has gone for us.