Both during the trip and in the days that have followed, I have been reflecting on a number of different aspects of my own faith, and how my beliefs apply in what seems to be a very broken world. There are many aspects of Christianity which are easy to believe when you have lived a life which has been pretty good for the most part. Difficult times have come, but everything, in the grand scheme of things, has worked out well. It’s easy to believe your needs will be provided when they always have. Of course, I do have things I have trouble trusting that God will provide, but, in the grand scheme of things, I could live without–wondering if I’ll ever get married, if I’ll have the opportunity to travel to the growing list of places I would like to see, or if I’ll ever have an in depth conversation with Heidi Baker just really don’t seem that important compared to having to worry about having enough food, having heat and hot water in the winter, or being able to find a job instead of having to resort to prostitution.
One verse I’ve been meditating on for several months is Numbers 23:19
God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?
The idea that God doesn’t change His mind and that He fulfills all of His promises, admittedly, is a difficult concepts for many believers in the US. However, how do you even begin to tell this to someone who has never been allowed to hope for a better life?
The climax of this question in my mind came on Friday, our last day at camp with the kids and the day we visited the institution for adults with disabilities.
However, much of the answer came through what I saw and experienced at the various churches we visited. I was reminded over and over again that the promises of God have little to do with status. You can receive and give love in a world of hate. You can be full, even when you are hungry. You can have peace during unrest and joy during pain and sadness. You can give, even when you have nothing. You can prosper even when everything is failing.
While in Ukraine, we met some people with amazing faith. It would be easy to be baffled by the amount of faith some of these people had when compared to their life situations. However, almost every person had one thing in common. And, this one thing I know is true, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in my own life and in the lives of many of my friends:
One touch from God, one experience of His presence changes everything. It only takes one touch. His presence really is all we need–it brings hope, joy, peace, love, fulfillment, healing. Sometimes we don’t want to accept what has been freely set in front of us, but it is all there nonetheless.
Understanding the power it has in our own lives, how can do anything else but share? Regardless of where we live, there will always be poor, broken, sick, hopeless, forgotten people. Regardless of where we live, we can always have love, joy, peace, fulfillment, healing, and, regardless of where we live, we can always give those things away, as well.