Wednesday, April 19, 2017
“God seeks us. Listen and you will hear His loving voice.” ― Dallas Willard
I’ve written before about how easy it is to become depressed here because of the enormity of the issues facing us, the poverty, the hunger, the disease, the huge number of orphans, and so many other problems that we just can’t solve. We have also gotten older and lost a lot of the spring in our steps (that particular spring has gotten a bit rusty). What we have done here looks good on paper because it has been done over many years, but on a daily basis, well, sometimes it seems as if we are just not doing anything to serve our Lord. Monday was a case in point. It was Easter Monday, a national holiday, so there was no school, no orphans to feed, no children’s voices shouting out their lessons, and laughing and singing. It is also the rainy season, so it was cold, wet, and gray. Because of the holiday, there were no workers here except Francis who was getting double-time pay, but as there was no one else here, he sat and read his Bible most of the day. Late in the afternoon, while there was a break in the rain and the sun came out for a bit, I sat out on our back porch and pondered my depression. I thought, “Well, I’ve done nothing today. Absolutely nothing. We’ve fed no hungry children. We’ve taught no children. We’ve made no biosand filters. We’ve done nothing to help the church. I am just a useless lump of clay with no real reason for existing." While I was thinking myself lower and lower in my mind, Karen came outside and sat with me. Before I could drag her down with my litany of uselessness, she was a tad bubbly. She gushed even. She said, quite excitedly, “I just saw about eight children and adults getting water from our community well. It makes me feel so good to know that they are getting clean drinking water for free without having to walk several kilometers. I am so proud of the work John did.” She was right, of course. We don’t have to be physically doing something every day to be serving faithfully. Seeds we have already planted have grown and begun bearing fruit and that’s really what our jobs here are—to plant seeds. Not to harvest (though seeing children with their buckets full of water heading back to their houses sure feels like a harvest), not to gather fruit, not even to sit in the shade of the trees we’ve planted. Our jobs are to make things ready so that God can work. That’s it. That’s all He asks of us, and we’ve been doing just that for twelve years even if sometimes I get a little down because I’m not physically involved every single day. Just as Karen finished her upbeat and happy statements, my phone notified me that I had a message. It was from Bishop Festo, praising God and thanking me for the money I had given to the church in Muranda for a roof for their building. Because of that, they were able to worship on Easter Sunday even though it was raining. Apparently, if you are very slow and stupid, God will send you a text to remind you that you are being a good and faithful servant even if you yourself can’t see it. God spoke to me through my wife (not the first time, either) and through a text on my smart phone (no emoji’s though). I was smart enough to get the message and stopped grousing and started smiling again. God will speak, if you listen. God has jobs for all of us. Have you been listening to hear what He wants of you? Be still. Open your hearts, eyes, and ears because God still speaks to His children, and you can take that to the bank.