Take, Give and Take Some More
I've missed you, virtual friends.
This season continues to be one of deep experiences that cannot be summarized or wrapped up neatly in a blog post or even in a conversation over coffee. A journey encompasses a series of summits and valleys. My spiritual journey, gratefully, includes a Good Father who takes hold of my hand at each moment. He pulls me to the summit, promising the view will be worth the pain. He carries me through the valley, reassuring me that the trials produce perseverance and much more.
And so, I write in this space today... sharing an observation or two, stumbling along toward eternity, And, I find, He has never left.
This year, we hosted two teams, a vision team for a large church, a missionary family for a month and an individual volunteer for 6 weeks. Each of these experiences has served to sharpen several thoughts.
My initial observation from each visit remains the same... as on-the-ground people, we 'receive' a great deal from Gringos. They bring us coffee creamer, beef jerky, flashlights, clothes. They leave their tennis shoes behind, they donate school supplies and money. They use their vacation, their savings, their offerings. They sweat, they ache and they cry. All of these things we receive and so do our sweet students.
We are grateful in the 'taking'.
It is a humbling thing to live on the receiving end of all that Christian Americans have to give. It is hard for Alex and I, as people who 'took care of ourselves' to be so dependent on God's provision through others. We will never be able to say 'thank you' enough times, we will never be appreciative enough and, most likely, we will never be able to give back in return anything of substance to those who are giving.
And yet... (you knew this was coming, right?)
Dependence is just what God asks of us... as His children, we are to trust Him to provide for our needs. He does this through the hands and hearts of His people and sometimes, He just drops something into our world, right out of the blue.
I wonder how the everyday American would fare if it were more obvious that God was providing for their needs? It seems, that self-earned comfort insulates us from feeling 'needy' and fully relying on God to provide. What are your thoughts on this?
Physical need and God's kind provision spills right over into the spiritual. Even physically satisfied people feel a painful 'need' to be emotionally cared for.
At times, God offers that care through trusted friends, counselors, Pastor/Shepherds, etc. In these relationships, we are limited by communication. It is very rare for me to be able to communicate my heart in words that can comfort another. More often than not, I muddy the waters and complicate with my words. It is also very rare for human encouragement to last 10 minutes after the words are spoken.
But God... in the deep moments, silent moments, alone.... in this time, God is able to pierce the communication barrier. He is able to know my thoughts from afar, to understand my aching. He whispers, 'I am here, Laura. I see you, I made you, I love you, I will never leave you or forsake you.' He speaks to me through the words of the Psalms, through the words of my Savior and hope springs anew.
The 'taking' from willing hands, the 'taking' of love from a Good Father, the 'taking' from the hearts of trusted companions.... and the turning around and the 'giving; it right back to God to use as He sees fit for as many days as I have. Taking, giving, taking ....
That, my friends, is real life.