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Where is Your Sanctuary? Your Dwelling Place?

Fraterine before we met

I am grateful to several St. Philippians who have prayed for my little sparrow in Rwanda. Fraterine is a ten-year-old boy who, until the last year, has led a solitary life, away from school and simply drifting during the days because so many children made fun of his discomfiting, facial skin condition. Since discovering God’s little sparrow last summer, we from the Dufatanye Organization have sought to assist him and his family by taking him to see multiple doctors for treatment, building a new house and a chicken coop, and providing more nutritious foods for his family.

Above: Fraterine in 2018, before we met.

Three weeks ago, a maxillofacial surgeon performed oral surgery to biopsy portions of Fraterine’s lips that had become ulcerated and looked suspicious. We were worried that he might have oral cancer in addition to his serious skin disease. Many of you have prayed for the results of this biopsy.

I am thrilled to share that Fraterine does NOT have oral cancer! Not only that, this past Saturday, he attended our “Bible and Breakfast Club” and was all smiles! Two hundred fifty-one children gathered and, in addition to hearing the Bible lesson and enjoying porridge and bread, the children received numerous gifts including a bag of maize flour, notebooks, pens, Vaseline, and a long bar of soap. Our team also met with the parents to emphasize good habits in nutrition, sanitary practices, and safety.

Fraterine at Bible class

Fraterine at Bible class on May 11

A sparrow is a small, seemingly insignificant bird that spends much time alone. Despite their dimunitive size, God values sparrows and not one falls to the earth apart from our Father’s care (Matthew 10:29). Often, a sparrow is associated with finding its home in the sanctuary or altars of the Lord. A “sanctuary” can denote a physical place where people worship God, even as we do today. But it can also figuratively imply a solitary, spiritual “place” where a Christian may worship the Lord and seek His face.

Our little sparrow in Rwanda, Fraterine, sensed where to find help. At the time, he may not have known that it was our Lord directing his steps, but I believe he knows now. God had seen his humble heart as he sat one day in a hot, glaring solitary place and cried out within his soul for help.

What a beautiful metaphor for us. If a sparrow instinctively knows to draw close to its Creator near the Lord’s altar, how much more should we know to build our lives gazing upon that same altar in the sanctuary of the Lord. The gospel writer Matthew encourages, “ ... do not be anxious about your life ... Look at the birds [Greek word for “sparrow”] of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them ... ” Will He not also feed us?

Ask yourself, “Where is my sanctuary? Who provides spiritual nourishment for me? Do I seek to dwell at the altar of God, in the courts of the living Lord?”

Be like the sparrow. Set your heart on things above. Seek the Lord’s face. Draw near to God. He WILL draw near to you.

Source: Dr. R. Mark Gaffney, Where the Birds Make Their Nests