When calamity strikes, what do you do? Very recent events have brought this question into a Life Lessons post. How we respond is often all about our perspective. And my intent is not so much to give you a certain perspective, but share one that has helped me this week. Let’s just file this post under: Confession is good for the soul!
Life Lessons: Perspective
Let’s begin in Exodus 15. The Hebrews had just left Egypt. God swallowed up Pharaoh’s army in the waves of the Red Sea. Ten plagues, a miraculous exit, and the strength of their enemy was completely wiped out. How in the world could anyone forget about any of that? But they must have forgotten. Just three days of walking in the desert and all they could do was complain to Moses.
Difficulty comes our way from many different directions. What do we do? It’s easy to look at the Hebrew people and wonder why they did what they did. It’s harder to admit we do the same things. This has been part of our class discussion this week in Samana.
As this year began, my ministry newsletter included some observations on the year that was ending and some prayer requests for the year that was beginning. One of those prayer requests concerned our vehicles. We have one that is closing in on 300k miles. We’ve taken good care of it, it runs fine, but repairs are coming fairly often now. Our prayer was for it to last at least one more year. Just before I left to come to Samana with the mission team we had that car in the shop. When I get home we are going to have to make some serious decisions about transportation.
After I arrived in Samana, there was a storm in north Alabama. We had a lightning strike at our house. If the tree in the front yard was the only casualty of that event, I probably wouldn’t be constructing a new Life Lessons post.
As often happens, the lightning caused an overload on electical circuits in our home. Many electonic items were fried. Just look around your house at the televisions, stereos, cable boxes, computers, and appliances. What if you suddenly lost a third of those items, or half of those items. What would you do? Many times we have the Exodus 15 reaction. We can be good at asking the Why me? questions or making the Poor me! statements. Please understand, I am not minimizing my challenges or yours. Challenges are real. I am addressing how we respond to them.
Life Lessons: Perspective Determines Response
Do we have some serious challenges right now? Yes! And to be honest, part of me wanted to do the Exodus 15 thing. However, I really couldn’t do that. The reasons were standing in front of me every day this week.
Our mission team went to places where people don’t have enough to eat. We fed them. I put food on their plates. We went to places where people don’t have adequate shelter or clothing. We addressed the needs we could. We taught pastors and church leaders who have no real chance at Biblical education other than what we provide. We saw people who were sick and couldn’t afford a doctor visit or to refill a prescription. All the things these people lacked were things I have or can do.
It just didn’t seem appropriate to complain about my problems when theirs are so much worse. That was my blessing of perspective. It’s always better to be thankful for what you do have than to complain about what you don’t have!
I hate to say it, but if I’d been at home with all this going on (and finding out the insurance company is convinced this is not their problem!), my response might have been different. I hope not, but…
So where is the need for prayer? Would I ask you to pray for God’s provisions to meet our needs so ministry can continue? Absolutely! BUT, I would also ask you to spend an equal amount of time praying for the people we saw and ministered to this week. They need our prayers, too.
I’ll detail this in a future post, but today I was asked if we could bring a team to help with children’s ministry right here in Samana. As you pray, maybe you need to be part of that team. Stay tuned, and keep the right perspective.
Soli Deo Gloria!