To say that I have avoided writing this is to put it mildly. Day 7 is the final day. Was the final day. The end. Todo. El fin. No mas.
Essentially a travel day, but not before we had half of the day in Honduras. At the end of the day, I felt no farther ahead in my summary of my time: confirming and confusing. Allow me to explain.
I remember sending an email to a friend that, months ago, declared I would travel to Honduras. Three minutes into the interview for the trip, I sensed a shift in the present spirit, and I knew I would go. And every step of the trip confirmed that I should be in Honduras. I was not uncomfortable. I put my limited Spanish into play and was told by Hondurans that I had the right “accent.” The ministry already there, the people, the children – everything made me feel at home. At one point I heard God say, “Mi corazon para ti es aqui.”
But the plane ticket had been purchased, and it was round-trip. And I awoke with questions. I did not like the feeling of being an “outsider.” I want to be an “insider.” Before my alarm went off, God woke me up. He sent me to the roof for devotions, devotions from Psalms. As the sun began to peek over the mountains, I read this: “Arise, O Lord!” from Psalm 3:7. Then, from Psalm 4:6, “Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.”
Finally, as the sun continued to rise, I read this:
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3
Of course. All of my questions, all of my requests, belonged in one place – God’s hands. So, as I have tried to do this week, I prayed in Spanish. I asked to return to Honduras – soon. All week I refrained to say, “Adios” as we wrapped up in the school and the orphanage. I always said, “Hasta pronto.” Lord willing, I will see them soon.
But now what?
I am certain that God oversees our technology. Time and time again, there have been times when I am unable to do as I wish – to post, send or check email, to edit photos – and I must choose something else to do. This week was no exception. Instead of being able to publish a piece, I have added more. Instead of scanning social media, I have turned to the Word. This happened today on Day 7.
When the wireless connection would not connect, I turned back to my reading for the day. And never before has the Introduction of a book spoken so powerfully to me. Consider my heart’s desire, my ache to stay, my love to write, and my question of where I belong. And I read this in the introduction to 1 Peter:
“Nevertheless some claim that the idiomatic Greek of this letter is beyond Peter’s competence. But in his time Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek were used in the Holy Land, and he may well have been acquainted with more than one language. That he was not a professionally trained scribe..”
That last part caught me. For the past few month I have felt confirmed in pursuing a call to ministry. But the question has been, do I need to pursue formal training? This week and this line tell me no. No one formally trained Edith to care for fifteen orphans, she just did it. My heart desires to serve children, and I believe that is where God calls me. But where? And how?
Without an answer we flew into Atlanta. Instantly I felt heavier. Weight and responsibility began to settle on my shoulders. I did not like the feeling. Then something I had only imagined began to come into reality. I had said that if Michigan was in the championship game in Atlanta on Monday, I might have to go. Well, it just so happens that our connecting flight was oversold and they wanted people to stay back.
One of the trip members said, “Doug, I think it’s a sign. I think you should stay.” I volunteered and they needed me, so I stayed. But why stay for one night? Why not stay and try to go to the game? So I made plans to stay. And here I am – in my hotel room.
Well, the truth is that my desire to see the game has been trumped. Before the plane to Grand Rapids had even landed, there was an email from Honduras. One of the boys we met had a father who experienced a stroke and was given very little hope to survive. The mother planned to pull Jose from school since there was no clear plan for income. So as I look at the price for one ticket, for one night, for one game..I weigh it against the cost to support one boy and his family for a year.
This has been, in many ways, a difficult week for me. I weigh my privilege against their need. The pull of my heart goes to Honduras and back home. There are three handsome children who wait for me and need me. How do I mesh my two experiences? I want to know, “Now what?”
Jesus never really operated that way. He never told his disciples, “Well, tomorrow I will be raising a boy from the dead and withering a fig tree.” No, he met the need where he was at that time. The only time he began to point to the future was before his death, and even then his disciples did not believe him.
All day I have wondered why I am still here in Atlanta. If not for the game, then why? And I may never know. Just like in Honduras, you cannot measure a hug, a smile, a word, a gift. It is a love stone thrown into God’s ocean, and he directs the ripples. How can I know the impact on the person being able to return last night instead of me? How can I know the impact on the people who sought me out today and found me with the time to “be”?
We do not need to know the “what’s next?” but only the “what’s now?” We can only be where we are. My sons need me. Children around me need me. People in my community need me. As God would use me, I must be poured out where I am. I AM is where I am, which is why He told me, “Mi corazon para ti es aqui.” His heart for me IS here, wherever I am.
So I will trust. I will be. Wherever I am, and trust the Lord with the rest. Today I took a walk and the Lord told me to check my phone. There was no message. No reminder. Only the time.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
As he so often does, the Lord responded, “You’ll see.”
Yes, we will.