I haven't written recently, because honestly, I didn't want to. I've had a rough week - not that anything bad has happened - but my spirits just haven't been the highest. I started wrestling with some of God's reasons for not making this whole missionary/chaplain thing easier. As much as I wanted to push everyone away, claiming that they couldn't and wouldn't understand, I knew that others had felt pain like mine, even if it wasn't the exact same situation.
Yesterday began week one of "Lost and Found", our group bible studies in the cottages. I did not expect every child to be enthusiastic about a bible study, but I was not prepared fully for the welcome party in the boy's cottage that was my first stop. Apparently, the activity for everyone else was outside, and they were extremely mad that I was taking up what would be their football time. This was a crisis, the worst-case scenario for them and I was the villain. Needless to say, I was feeling a little unappreciated and unwelcome. We suffered together, and I got them to hear me out when I started sharing a story related to sports.
Luckily, a mere two hours later, I met with a group of very intelligent young women with lots of questions that are eager to know more about the bible, God, and faith. I was sad that our conversation had to be cut short, because I was learning from their perspectives and enjoying their presence. At the end of our evening, I had heard this repeated struggle from many of them. Basically, where are you God and why aren't you helping me in this situation that I'm in? I felt their pain, but I thought my 1 Corinthians reference to one body with many members and how we all suffer together wasn't quite sufficient. As I flipped through the Psalms for a prayer to offer up, I literally fell into Psalm 22. By the grace of God, I shared the first five verses to help them realize that their pain had been felt by others, and there is hope for the future.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
When I looked up, there were tears in several eyes, and one girl asked me if I felt what happened in that moment. Of course, I felt the presence of God, but I was so happy to know that she had felt it too. The moment was special, beautiful, and when I came close to tears in my frustration, this passage came back to my mind to remind me that others have felt my pain. "Our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them."
Deliver me, Oh God, because You know how I feel.