As I shared before, I had never been to India. In fact, I had never been east of Europe.
On our way there, the most fascinating thing happened. We flew over Iran.
I don’t know why I was so gripped for this country I was flying over at 35,000 feet, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the people below me. I gazed out the window as long as light remained. The land was filled with brown. Sand and hills were all I could see. Every so often, I would see the spots of buildings of some kind and wonder who lived there. Were Iranians having dinner? What were they talking about around the dinner table? What was their day filled with? What do their homes look like?
Iran would never allow me step foot in its country, yet I was flying over it, wondering what life was like for these people that appear so mysterious on the Nightly News. I wanted to understand, to picture, to empathize, to be weighed down with compassion.
Last year I took a developmental test called Strength Finders. My top strength was called connectedness. The StrengthFinders book says, “People who are especially talented in Connectedness have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and almost every event has a reason. They are also inherently bridge builders between cultures and belief systems, segments of society, departments, business units, and cliques.”
At first, I could not see that. Heck, I didn’t even understand it. But now I do. My heart is burdened by the stories I know, and the stories I can only speculate on. It’s why I could not let go of wondering about the people in Iran I was so close to and yet so impossibly distanced from. They were made by the same Creator God who breathed life into me. He cares for them so deeply, and yet, there are so many barriers keeping them from Him.
I want them to know Jesus. I want them to know joy despite circumstances. I want each and every one of them to feel treasured by the God of the Universe.
35,000 feet might be the closest I ever get. Yet, as I stare at the land, the actual land Iranians walk on, pray on, become embittered on, I am again drawn to pray. I can not touch it, but as we fly over this hostile land, I pray God’s compassion over it. I pray that one day Iranians, in their own country, will proclaim the name of Jesus Christ as Savior.