I’m 8,500 miles from home, I’m hot, I’m tired, and I don’t know how I’m going to do this.
We’ve been awake since 2 AM to catch the flight to the island. When we arrive, we drive to a market full of fish and chickens and pigs. Our host points to a pig, the man chops it up and hands a bag to him—this will be lunch.
We drive to an inn, check in, have a meeting, then containers of rice and pork are handed out. I feel like I’ve seen this meat before.
We drive to the elementary school. Children and adults are in the courtyard. Some haul out desks and chairs from the classrooms and place them in the center. Others stand around talking. Some children play in puddles of water, making mud, splashing. It’s the rainy season.
And it’s sticky.
So sticky I never stop sweating. I sweat all day long, my clothes drying, then dampening again. I will go through two shirts, two pants, three handkerchiefs, and two sweat bands before the day is out.
We ask for a room to rest in because the event is still three hours away.
Three hours from starting! How am I going to do this? I want to go to bed now.
We’re told we’re meeting with the village chairman. Then the school principal. Really? I don’t want to meet with them. I want to take a nap. And if I have to talk with someone, English has to be their first language. I’m tired of straining to hear and speaking slowly. I want to escape.
But I can’t. We’re here to serve.
We pile back into the van and drive to the chairman’s home. We sit down. I have nothing to say. I can’t think of anything; I’m not good at small talk.
We pile back in and return to the school. More people have arrived. The courtyard is filling up. We stop in the principal’s office, but he’s not there. Yes! I think.
We walk back to our “green room.” I’m hot, tired, and the cranky monster is trying to come out. The fan on the ceiling sputters. And I realize I’m sitting at a kid’s desk, my legs crammed and folded beneath it. I’m ready to be done.
But the event hasn’t even started yet! How am I going to do this? How in the world am I going to do this?
Soon I have to connect with a courtyard of people whom I’ve never met. I have to build rapport with them, share some stories, find meaning together. But their daily lives are nothing like mine. My usual quips and stories won’t work. Some have walked three miles to get here.
Jesus, how am I going to do this?
That’s when we pray.
We dig into God, we ask him to come. We admit our weakness, cry out for wisdom, say we can’t do this, but we think he can.
And you know what? He does.
He comes and gives strength and supplies wisdom and delivers. God does all the things we asked for—splendidly, abundantly, not half-way. Actually, God over-delivers in a most dramatic fashion.
So next time you’re 8,500 miles from home (or just feel that way), and you’re hot and tired, and you don’t know how you’re going to do it, just remember:
You’re never alone, God’s just a prayer away.
When have you felt like giving up, but God helped you get through it? You can comment by clicking here.