Have you ever prayed for patience? Well, good luck with that.
I currently live in a 3rd World country. If I am going to move to Haiti, I know how to do it right. I live in a beautiful home and though we don’t have hot water or Air Conditioning, we have running water, filtered drinking water, electricity, internet, and a whole lot of fans, all in a safe gated community in the capitol city of Port au Prince. I’m set up for success by an organization that has been here for over ten years and has it down. I am finishing my fourth week here already.
I thought this transition would be fairly simple and in some ways, I am surprised at how easy it has been for me. I mean, I just needed to adjust to the 95 degree weather alongside the 86% Humidity and I’d be fine! I have most of the luxuries that I am used to beyond that and I can focus on my work here and what I am setting out to do.
By week two, this transition I was in started to take interesting turns. This organization that I am blessed to be a part of has some great things in their future and is going to make a huge difference for the people of Haiti. I believe God is going to use me is some small part of that process and I can’t wait to watch it all come to fruition. When God has big plans, Satan fights back. Slowly but surely I have been part of that fight in the last three weeks. From the electricity being little-to-none most days, to our back-up generators failing in huge unmanageable ways, to our vehicles basically falling apart. It has been a test. I have showered with only drops of water to showering in the dark completely. I have gone days with only a couple of hours of electricity which means no fans or escape from the heat and mosquitos, no refrigerator to keep my food cold and safe to eat, while my pantry food is attacked by the ants coming in to escape the rain outside. Somehow, and it can only be God, I have been able to be content and keep my cool. None of these things are typical for our place and is purely attack after attack.
The morning I woke up to my food destroyed by ants on top of all of the other situations, was the first time I had a small break down. I had maintained my smile and really truly hadn’t been too frustrated at that point. The staff we have here is so amazing and I never wanted to make them feel bad, so I am very careful of my words and actions in response to these issues. I finally came upstairs frustrated by the ants preventing me from having my morning coffee and oatmeal, and I broke down. It all kind of caught up to me and I was tired of it. As tears strolled down my face, I opened up my email to my daily devotion in my inbox. It was, of course, titled “Your Faith is Being Tested.” God cracks me up. Seriously, I laugh out loud at least once a week at Him and His tactics. As I read the devotion, lead by the verse “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7a NLT) I couldn’t help but smile and begin to feel better.
My family was updated in a long detailed venting email and they all responded lovingly as always. My Dad responded with awesome words out of a book that he is reading and it is so great for what I needed to hear that day.
Psalm 121:1-8, “I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from the mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep. God’s your Guardian right at your side to protect you-Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. God guards you from every evil, he guards your life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.” (The Message)
About this Psalm Eugene Peterson says, “At no time is there the faintest suggestion that the life of faith exempts us from difficulties. What it promises is preservation from all the evil in them. On every page of the Bible there is recognition that faith encounters troubles. The sixth petition in the Lord’s Prayer is “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” The prayer is answered every day, sometimes many times a day, in the lives of those who walk in the way of faith. (see also 1 Corinthians 10:13) The way to describe the Christian journey is to name and describe God who preserves, accompanies and rules us.”
Peterson goes on to say, “All the water in all the oceans cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us. That is the promise of the Psalm…None of the things that happen to you, none of the troubles you encounter, have any power to get between you and God, dilute His grace in you, divert His will from you.”(see Romans 8:28, 31-32).
There was a lot more to be said in that email and from the scriptures detailed in that book and it was such a comfort to me.
God is faithful. During the testing process, during the refining process, with electricity and without. He is faithful.
I am at home in Haiti. Even with the attacks from Satan and the tough days, I feel 100% at home here and have no desire to be anywhere else. That is God and I couldn’t be happier to be the one he is using during these tests. And I will prove to keep my Faith through them. The water is not getting in this boat!