We recently had the blessing of travelling to paradise together. When Handsome K asked me what I thought about his invitation to go to the islands, I said, “I’m going too.” Handsome K agreed and we were on our way. What did God want to teach me during our time away…that life, just normal life hurts. At that specific moment mine wasn’t hurting but God continued to allow people to tell me about the devastating parts of their lives while we were away. I always count it a privilege when people allow me into their vulnerable thoughts and life. This was no different, it was just several strangers…from people we met on the airplane or interacted with at the churches, to our waiter at a restaurant. There is a desire to be known and we need community.
I saw a man at one church we were able to visit, that reminded me of my uncle. This man had kind eyes and I just knew he loved Jesus. He raised his hands in praise and made me prayerfully think of my uncle. He is opposed to Jesus. A long time ago, Handsome K taught about praying for a future vision for someone. Praying for what you desire their character, beliefs to grow into…leading them to Jesus as they get there. Thinking of a picture or moment that expresses God’s work in their lives…Sometimes God gives me a picture in my mind of a direction to pray…I pictured my uncle with arms raised an aging man with a hurt past…raising his arms to Jesus in adoration, song, and submission. Tears streaming from his eyes because he is overwhelmed with the love of His Savior. Serving in the church according to the way God made him, sincere, caring…not anxious about the unknown but living in the present. I’m not necessarily close to my uncle. We don’t keep up. But I felt that I should write him.
A lady told me her husband’s business trips started getting longer and longer and eventually he left her and her two sons for another life with another woman. She went on to tell me how God continues to provide for them even in the hurt.
Our waiter one evening was heavily burdened for a friend who was like family. He’d been trying to reach him and he’s been reading the news and watching his friend going down some dark roads…he wanted us to pray for him and couldn’t stop telling us he was sorry for sharing and he didn’t know why he did.
A man told us his wife left him for another life, part of the kids with him, part of them grown, part with her.
A friend experienced a tragic accident that lead to loss of life .
Another friend got earth-shattering news of her husband’s cancer.
A man got tears in his eyes when I was asking his daughter about their recent move to the island. She was explaining to me how it was hard. Her dad knew God wanted them to move, but it was painful to see it being hard for his child.
Another man on the airplane beside me was telling me he used to be an alcoholic and he’s been sober 26 years, he said he realized that bills have to be paid, people hurt you, and kids are annoying sometimes and that’s just life…not to be coated in alcohol but to be seen as part of life. His perspective changed.
How is my perspective different because I know God. How is my perspective changed because I believe in His forgiveness?
I’m reminded of the verse, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Phillipians 2:14) I tell my kids this verse a lot. I’m reminded of the verse that says, “Do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
I’m not so good about not complaining. But what do I really have to complain about? I’m learning that perspective changes my thinking. It’s ok to me sad, mad, and glad but there is no room for complaining. God sees what is best for us and tells us not to complain. What does that change?
NOTHING…except the attitudes of those around me.
God, help me to see the world through your eyes, the hurt and pain, and yet bring those things to you and not complain about the little stuff.