One of my favorite passages from the bible is Micah 6:8. He has told you, O man, what is good and what does the lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. It presents a simple black and white picture of a human life. I didn’t lie, cheat, or steal today. Do justly? Check. I helped an old lady cross the street. Love kindness? Check. I prayed and worshipped the Lord. Walk humbly with God? Check. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
Orientation was a painful exercise in humility. The staff went to great lengths to prove to us trekkers that, although we enjoy making our lives simple, such is often sheer laziness and ignorance. We sat through challenging simulations, followed by sessions, followed by more simulations. It became clear that our cheery help-the-poor attitudes were simply not going to cut it in country. Just as we were about to throw our hands up in anguish and call cabs back to our respective airports, we were offered one last sliver of rope. A ray of shining light, if you will. Jesus.
The world’s immeasurable darkness and complexity is but the venue for lives to be transformed by Jesus. Poverty. Slavery. Political corruption. The desolation of the world around us can’t be fixed with a band aid and some good will. However, what we learned through orientation, or rather what we were reminded of, was that our God is a God who specializes in overcoming the odds. We often felt during the orientation that we were being taught that the situation is hopeless. This is true in some senses, as hard as we may try we can never create the utopia we wish the world was. However, what was crucial for us to realize before we departed for our other country missional adventures is that God will go before us and tip the odds in our favor. Maybe not in the way we expect or want, but there is hope that God will work in the way he wants. And we must trust that that will change lives irreversibly for the better. So we packed that knowledge up with our journals, bibles and single pair of socks and set out to do God’s work.