a man named ZITO

God tends to use people in similar life experiences to sometimes have the greatest impact on us. On last year's trip to Mozambique, God introduced me to a man named Manuel, and he had a profound impact on me as the leader of the church plant out in the "bush" in a place called "Savane". I thought I worked hard as a pastor, until I met him and understood all the "extra" items on his plate each week.

This year the Lord introduced me to a man named Zito, the leader of one of the other church plants that I can't pronounce or spell. Me and a couple other team members visited their service one Sunday after attending church at the Villa. He was such a good preacher and spoke with such clarity and conviction. Lots and lots of gifts inside him, and I could sense a real heart to lead the people in authentic ways.

But it wasn't till after the service that I connected the Zito I just met to the Zito I read about a few months back on a CRI newsletter. Less than a year ago, he lost his wife to the dreaded malaria, and is still grieving that loss. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and devastation of losing your spouse, especially during the sometimes lonely times that church leadership hands you. He's now raising his 3 small children, keeping up on the house, all while continuing to lead and feed his church.

We stopped at his home once during the trip to pray for him, his family, and the church. And I lost it. Throughout the entire lengthy prayer session I couldn't keep my eyes dry. I don't understand why God allows good people like Zito's wife - a person "breathing so much life" into so many women and children in the area - to just pass away so young...and why He allows so many Americans who don't give a rip about Him to live a long life till their 80's.

I know it goes both ways in reality, but it still feels unfair. And I'm sure there's some tidy theological answer...that's not what I'm looking for. It's just tough to meet him knowing the pain he's enduring and the loss the church is still trying to compensate for.


gadfly1974 said...

Cory, I've been thinking about this line in your post: "I'm sure there's some tidy theological answer..."

I think this is an important insight. And it is Baptist theology's biggest weakness.

Pastor Brian referred to this issue at Common Ground a few weeks ago, when he preached on Ruth 1.

We like to wrap up all of life's issues up in tidy, "Two-and-a-Half Men," 22-minute packages. But real life doesn't have neat resolutions.

Ultimately, a theology that has a pat answer for human suffering is just that, an "-ology," a "study of."

The Bible is a book of story, not a book of theology.

This is not to knock studying the Bible and developing frameworks to understand it. But frameworks are human constructs.

When our theology becomes more important than our God and the people who cross our path, our priorities have gotten all out of whack.

Cory said...

Right on Andy... thanks!