“How was your trip?” That is a simple and reasonable questions. It is just difficult to answer in one sentence. I think we should all do this at least once a year. Get away with God for an extended time; no distractions, no electronics, no work, no chores, no to do lists. God graciously granted this time to me again, and I am richer for it. AND He blessed me with beauty and love throughout my time away. He gave me strength to keep my attitude adjusted to Him, and turned my eyes time and time again to the beauty and blessings of His creation.
Submitting to my husband, following him rather than rushing ahead (m0st of the time; I’m struggling with this), taking every thought captive, being grateful and thankful for ALL things – stepping outside of my comfort zone and trusting God. He broke my heart over the lost and forgotten of His children and over our sister churches around the world who need our encouragement and support.
God took me from my isolated daily life into the world – literally. I was surrounded for two weeks with people from all walks of life and from 57 different countries. I heard many languages, experienced many cultures, watched many behaviors, ate food I hadn’t ever eaten before with many people I didn’t know, traveled to places I’d never been to see parts of His creation I’d never seen. I even spoke a few words of other languages. I climbed a rock wall, went snorkeling and rode on the back of a camel. All things that were far from my normal activities.
In my quiet time, I read my daily scriptures and managed to finish three books: Mercies in the Wilderness, Practicing His Presence, The Hole in Our Gospel (Thank you Crista). I was very aware of the haves and of the have nots.
Sitting among us, all traveling the world and seeing new sights, she sits and hopes. Sitting on the steps of the place of God – the house of God – she hopes. Do we see her, can we help her? Who knows how she got to this place? Does it matter? I see her – drop in a few coins and say “God bless you.” Look her deep in the eyes and hear her reply, “Thank you.” I notice she has one tooth, we’re in Portugal and she spoke English.
Do you see her? She also sits and hopes. More coins, a cough – sounds ill. A silent prayer. Where are God’s people – His hands & feet..are we just tourists? Going about our trip with blinders on to them – someone’s mother, sister, daughter…
And another one sleeping on the pavement.
I remember the words of Christ, “The poor will always be with you.” (John 12:8) What does God want of us – we can’t fix everyone’s problems. My cynical side often silently condemns them for their poor choices – even when I don’t know anything about them.
I can see this one and that one – the ones He puts in my path. He places me in their path to give them hope, to show them His love. Am I willing; willing to touch the sick, look at the broken, willing to be used by God to bring them a ray of hope? Was the purpose of the trip a few words and a few coins in a cup? Or a changed heart? Or offered hope and love?
I wrestled with wealth, blessing, poverty, obligation, opportunity, attitude, gratitude. God is sovereign in all things and I am thankful. The contrast of the blessing and richness of the vacation with the call of my heart to those who have nothing. Sharing the abundance that God has blessed us with, with others who are less fortunate. Rating my generosity has more to do with how much I spend and keep for myself than how much I give away. My prayer is that He continues to shape me and change my heart. Give me eyes to see, Lord. Show me how to help others and bring glory to Your great name. Amen.