17 Oct Looking at God, not myself
I will never forget the last day of the mission trip that I participated in this summer.
It was Friday, the seventh day of our journey into the heart of Nicaragua. After a long and amazing week of serving the people in this beautiful country, it was time for our mission team to relax and participate in a “fun day.” My head was leaned against an old school bus window, occasionally feeling a bump that would remind me that a window, that could not close properly, was supporting my head as we drove down the crowded streets of Managua. Flashbacks of our week kept replaying in my mind. Several emotions danced through my head all at once. I was still trying to process everything that had happened during the week in my mind.
My eyes watched the people of Nicaragua go about their life as usual. Families were riding in the back of pickup trucks with bars to hold on to. Storefronts were in the open air, without windows to display their goods. Vendors shamelessly walked by our bus windows with food and newspapers to sell while we waited for the stoplight to turn green. A horse stands randomly on the side of the road, desperately needing food. We passed several homes, which would certainly not meet the standards of the typical American family. It was scenery that I had been viewing for the past several days.
Our bus finally pulled into the Parque National Vulcan Masaya. I was somewhat excited to see my first glance at an active volcano, but my mind was still trying to process everything I had experienced on the trip.
Our bus had finally reached the top of a beautiful looking mountain. I walked out of the bus and headed toward the viewing point. The inside of the volcano was not fully visible, and it wouldn’t be until I reached the volcano’s edge. Step by step I finally made it to the viewing area. All of a sudden, everything in my mind paused. My heart began racing with amazement.
My mind was fixated on the majestic mountain in front of me, and all of its beauty and glory. I felt fear, reverence, excitement, and joy all at the same time. I could see it’s power being displayed in front of me, and it made me tremble at the thought of being near it, yet I didn’t want to leave or look away. It was much bigger than I had imagined. It was far more glorious than I was expecting. I was in awe.
It became clear to me that God used one of his glorious creations to show me something about Him, and my need of repentance.
While walking back to our bus to leave the park and head to our next destination, I couldn’t help but take one more look at the volcano. Later that evening, it became clear to me that God used one of his glorious creations to show me something about Him, and my need of repentance.
He revealed to me that not once did I look at the volcano and think about myself. Neither did I try to look at the volcano and show it my magnificence and power. I was focused solely on something much more glorious and powerful than I could ever be. It was in that moment when God reminded me how He had worked and moved throughout the mission process.
God provided every dollar of support needed in ways that I could not have imagined, even when I doubted him on several occasions. I doubted, He provided.
I doubted, He provided.
God restored fellowship with a family member that I had been at odds with for several years. Even though I didn’t send this relative a letter of support, he still gave a large amount of money for my trip. For the first time in years, we were working together for a common goal, which was to share the love of Christ to others. I thought we would never restore fellowship, but God, in His timing, healed our relationship.
I thought we would never restore fellowship, but God, in His timing, healed our relationship.
God sent the right teaching material for Nicaragua Christian School. I struggled to prepare material for the trip. I spent much of my time focusing and worrying that what I had prepared was not good or professional enough. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had made it about me. Oddly enough, the material that I was most excited to present was not the biggest help for the teachers; rather it was some small details that I almost omitted from my notes that ended up being the most useful. I worried about my reputation. God provided what was needed.
I worried about my reputation. God provided what was needed.
God reminded me that He alone is our hope and security in this world, and He alone can satisfy our hearts. I can’t count the amount of times I would look at the people of Nicaragua and think to myself, “I wish I could just give them all money so that they could have hope.” The pastors in Nicaragua had such passion for the people, and reminded me daily that God is the only thing that could give their nation hope. I was trying to give hope by providing material possessions. God gives hope by changing hearts and offering Himself. He alone can satisfy.
I was trying to give hope by providing material possessions. God gives hope by changing hearts and offering Himself. He alone can satisfy.
God continued to show me that His sovereignty and glory is so much more to be valued than anything else in this world. His power and beauty fully outweighs the creation that stood before me that day. He showed me that I was guilty of standing before Him, yet still looking towards myself to accomplish things based on my own works and accomplishments. That would be like me trying to show this volcano how powerful and mighty I am.
In the cross of Christ, God rescues us from the house of mirrors and leads us out to the mountains and canyons of his majesty. Nothing satisfies us – or magnifies him – more. –John Piper