A couple weeks ago we were able to meet up with our Africa team for a little reunion – it had been about a month since we had come back and getting together gave us the opportunity to have some laughs, share some memories, and most of all just try to find out how life has been coming back from the trip.
It didn’t take long to see that the trip definitely made an impact on pretty much all of us that seems like could be a lasting one. One negative word/emotion that kept coming up though was “frustration”. There seemed to be alot of frustration from witnessing the things we did in Malawi, seeing the conditions, and seeing the sense of community over there in comparison to how different things are here, and how well we have it.
After hearing/discussing about some of our emotions since coming back, there were a couple things we tried to emphasize:
– We must first and foremost be cloaked in humility.
I don’t know about you – but I feel there is such a fine line between serving God with humility, and serving God with pride. One moment I am doing whatever I can to serve my God, out of love for Him. The next moment I’m thinking “oh yeah, I’m awesome, because I did ______”. James 4:6 says God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
We can so easily go from doing something FOR God, to thinking about how good we are for serving God. I am more guilty of this than anyone (which honestly doesn’t even make sense, because I am a constant screw up!). It’s good to be frustrated with things like people starving, or not having clean water (when we clearly have too much in America). This frustration can help drive us to fix these problems – but remaining humble and knowing that we are all in need of the grace of God is huge and something I must constantly keep in my perspective.
– There are hurting people and opportunities to serve everywhere
It’s easy to get in a mindset of “Oh man, I can’t wait to go back to Africa” or “I need to go be a missionary NOW – so I can serve God.” We can serve and glorify God in any continent.
We may not have the same poverty here in regards to food, water, etc. but I think there are plenty of us here that experience emotional/spiritual poverty. There are people hurting, struggling with abuse, addictions, depression, suicide, etc. Fighting to fill this hole in their lives that only Jesus Christ can fill (and that I have experienced first hand).
Being cloaked in humility is also an act of surrendering to God – saying I know you have me where I am right now for a reason. I want to be present, to not live in the “back when” or “what if’s” but for the NOW. I want to be used where I am right now for your glory. There are plenty of opportunities everywhere: the kid that sits by himself at lunch, the homeless man on the freeway, the elderly woman with grass growing too high in her yard, the guy in the cubicle next to you where conversation never gets deeper than sports or the weather but really his wife is struggling with an illness that no one knows about.
There are hurting people everywhere – I just pray to God that He will open my eyes to see them. And that He will give me the strength and courage to defeat my selfish desires, my pride, and DO SOMETHING. But that it will be done in humility, not for my own gain, but for God’s glory. Paul – the guy who has room to boast if any Christian can – put it best:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Thanks again so much for your support on our trip. God has just continued to work in us, stretching us, making us uncomfortable, and helping us grow. I am excited to see what HE will continue to do and allow us to be a part of.