Monthly Archives: February 2015

When I was a teenage brother of three, I took Proverbs 17:17 out of context to suit myself. On my bedroom door I posted a sign that read, “A brother is born for adversity,” and I did my best to bring to each of them their fair share of it. I knew it was an ironic perversion of the phrase, but it served my purpose.

The truth of that verse struck me recently, and I was pierced with the awareness that the adversity for which I am preparing has not yet come. I have no idea to what extremes I will be pushed, or to what disaster I will respond. I do know this: God’s purposes are always provided for and He is transplanting a sheepdog to where the sheep are very near the wolves. I will be tending the flock in a different role than I ever have before, but the Spirit reveals to me that, as bad as things have been in Uganda and continue to be in her surrounding countries, there is something coming which none of us has yet seen or understood.

While mulling this over, I was recently preparing for a speaking engagement in which I would address the survivors of fallen police officers. I considered how I could adequately summarize my own traumatic experience in a way that would communicate the gravity of my pain without going into so much detail that it would divert the focus off the healing. This phrase was given to me:

LRA child soldier“I was forced to kill my fellow officer.”

As soon as I said it, I was overwhelmed with passion for the children escaping from the conscripted service of Joseph Kony and the LRA. Recently forced out of Uganda, the LRA press-gangs boys into military service forcing them to kill their family members and neighbors as initiation into their army, and exploits girls as sex slaves and burden-bearers. Refugees from this genocidal terrorist organization, including those who escape its service, often flee to Uganda.

As I prepared to communicate a few thoughts on “support” to a fellowship of  grieving Floridians organized for that very purpose, the appropriateness of God calling someone with my experience to minister healing in Uganda became abundantly clear to me: I, too, was forced to kill one of my own.



Scripture references:

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Matthew 24:22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

1 Comment

PackingTheHouseI am surprised how fast January flew by. Classes are in session, and this week has brought me four exams. I was disappointed in my failure to prepare for one, and started it more on edge than usual, but received a notification by the end of the day that I had aced it. That glory goes entirely to God!

The big developing news with the Lemmons is a recent decision to sell our house and downsize. We were looking at our finances and recognized the only way to be free of debt before we begin our adventure overseas is to release the house. This idea came roughly a week after I began to prayerfully submit to God that I was ready to surrender whatever He decided was next if He would only make it known to me. The house it is!

An online value estimator predicted the possibility that we just might be able to shake these chains free if God wills that we should do so. We are counting on the knowledge that He does want us free. We calculated the result of rolling our mortgage savings into our consumer debt, and the result (God willing) will be financial freedom in about twenty months. Now that is something to celebrate!

In the meantime, this is sort of a dress rehearsal for the paring down of material possessions that will come prior to our trans-Atlantic migration. I like to think of this move as a wide funnel rather than the eye of a needle we anticipate then. We will likely find ourselves in either a shared house or an apartment, either of which would provide us a one bedroom existence with drastically reduced living areas. God doesn’t want us dependent on material things anyway, so it’s good to loosen our grip on them. It is amazing the perspective you get on possessions when you know you will lose them in several years anyway. The “just in case” collections don’t survive. “What if I ever need one of those?” is no longer a good reason to keep something. If it doesn’t get used frequently now, chances are we won’t need it in the next seven years. It’s actually liberating!

It makes me think: weren’t we supposed to be living that way in the first place? Ready to go at a moment’s notice? Not clinging to the things of this world? If I never make it to see the red clay of Uganda again, I am still pleased to release my grip on the soil beneath me and the trappings of Earth!

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15, NIV)

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (Mark 10:21, NIV)

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29, NIV)

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelation 3:17, NIV)